After hearing that the buildings used by various independent art groups may be sold off to the local Sixth Form College it was thought that a group to represent all the various individual groups should be formed as a united voice for arts in and around Darlington.
We are having another meeting where we hope to get the Association started proper with a steering group, constitution and stated purposes.
This meeting is on the 28th of February at 2pm in the East Hall of Darlington Arts Centre.
The group has already achieved a mailing list of approximately 200 members involved in a wide range of art activities.
Darlington Arts Association
A proposal to re-establish the Darlington Arts Association
The shock decision by Darlington Council to knock down a third of the Arts Centre to make way for a huge expansion of the Queen Elizabeth Sixth Form College has finally brought to peoples attention a process that has been underway for many years. Whilst applauding the QE's success, there are many who do not see why it has to be at the cost of other interests in the town.
The Arts Centre was established by a Trust formed by the an organisation made up of Arts professionals called Darlington Arts Association. They formed in 1976 and disbanded 4 years later after the Arts Centre opened.
There are many who feel that the time is long overdue for a similar association made up of a collective of Arts Centre users, arts and community groups, tennents, tutors and students. The purpose of this will be to represent the interests of all users of the Arts Centre to ensure that the acheivements of the orginal Arts Association are not squandered by the Council.
The following is from the Councils own website:
1976 Darlington Arts Association formed to press for an Arts Centre in the town.
Since then, ongoing improvements and updating have kept the profile of Darlington Arts Centre as one of the top regional arts venues. The agreement to purchase from the British Foreign School Society meant that after twenty years of use, the people of Darlington via Darlington Borough Council, at last own one of the finest old buildings in the town.'
In a complete about face they are planning to tear down and much reduce one of the finest old buildings in the town. Including a £300,000 studio theatre, and the best independent community arts facilities in the town.
It is time we revived the Darlington Arts Association to lobby the Council and protect what is left of 'this top regional arts venue' before it becomes a rump of the QE.
The reformed Arts Association will seek to protect not just the fabric of the building but will champion areas long neglected by the Council for example:
Artist lead initiatives, artists residencies, we belive that production is an essential part of any arts programme, also education and courses must be protected and preserved, the idea they can be farmed off to the sixth form is a nonsense. We need an active and dynamic Arts Centre, not a Theatre, a bar, galleries. and a few function rooms.
For more information go to Darlington Arts Association web site