dot-art’s mission is to support visual artists and champion art as an integral part of everyday life.
How do they do this? Well, let us tell you. They do this by selling affordable, locally sourced art for homes and businesses through their city centre art gallery and website and through the work of its social enterprise arm, which runs arts classes, a unique membership scheme providing a package of support and opportunities for local artists, affordable studio spaces and an innovative inter-school art programme. And, breathe. Although quite a mouthful, it’s certainly a testimony to the wonderfully hard yet rewarding mission of supporting local artists.
From very young we teach our children they can be anything they want but as time goes by we deliver the harsh blow of ‘feasible’. Yes, you could be an artist but how feasible is it? How realistic is it? dot-art is a reminder in a sea of doubt that if you can dream it, you can do it. Managing Director Lucy Byrne founded dot-art in 2006 and has grown it from an initial idea to an established, unique and multifaceted organisation which occupies a vital position in the Liverpool City Region’s cultural infrastructure, offering services to artists that cannot be accessed elsewhere and encouraging everyone, from schoolchildren to business people to the general public, to value, engage with and participate in visual art.
We caught up with her:
“I originally moved to Liverpool to study The History of Art, largely because of the city’s fantastic, internationally renowned visual arts infrastructure. When I graduated, I spent a lot of time meeting people in the industry and kept hearing the same thing – that the lack of commercial galleries meant that artists were struggling to find appropriate outlets for their work. I was also sure that I could not be the only person who did want the same generic, mass produced print on my living room wall, but would rather buy unique work from talented local artists. I was also meeting large numbers of artists who did not know where to go for help, support and opportunities. The idea of building a website to sell art that would also offer a package of support to local artists slowly evolved from there.
dot-art was born out of this idea in 2006 with the aim of providing talented visual artists in the North West a range of support and promotional platforms for their work, and addressing the demand for high quality, affordable, locally sourced art work in the region; I have been developing the organisation and diversifying its services and offering ever since.”
photo by Jack Finnigan
As well as offering art for the home, dot-art works with a wide range of companies and organisations looking to integrate art into the workplace and over the years has counted businesses such as Merseytravel, Bruntwood, Everton FC, Riverside Housing, Alder Hey Hospital and many more as clients. In addition they have developed partnerships with Liverpool John Moores University, St Georges Hall, the Bluecoat, the Walker Art Gallery, Sefton Park Palm House and Ness Gardens to deliver the activities of it social enterprise arm.
Lucy added: “Our schools programme is something I am very proud of and that I hope we can continue to grow for many years. dot-art Schools is an interactive, online, inter-school, art competition, taking place on an annual basis and culminating in a exhibition. Working with partners such as St George’s Hall to allow children to see their work on public display has allowed us to have a lasting impact on the lives of hundreds of young people. Schools are having to sideline the arts more and more, so I want us to play a small part in giving all children, regardless of their background, the opportunity to experience and participate in the arts at a formative stage of their education and have their eyes opened up to the possibilities of a creative career. We have recently partnered with LJMU, whose support has allowed us to expand the programme into Cheshire, meaning we can reach even more young people; this year we are working with over 70 schools.”
Key to dot-art’s future growth and development is the gallery, opened in February 2016. Situated off Castle Street, in the business district of the city centre, it acts as a hub for all their activities as well as hosting regular exhibitions and allowing people to see for themselves the range of products, services and activities they offer. Gallery Manager Jess always has a warm welcome waiting, whether you are wanting to have something framed, get some help choosing a piece of art or looking for advice on selling your own art. The street is absolutely beautiful and has been described as Liverpool’s very own Diagon Alley.
You can read about the first 10 years of dot-art here.
The dot-art Gallery is open Monday-Saturday, 10am-6pm.
Find it at 14 Queen Avenue, (just off Castle Street, by the Town Hall), Liverpool, L2 4TX.