Евразийский Культурный Альянс
Республика Казахстан, Алматы
ул. Нурмакова, 79

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ART POINT
Public Art Space
SMALL TOWN DIALOGUE
The unprecedented public interest in contemporary art led to the emergence of a cultural space known as Art Point. What is the secret of its success – is it the clever timing, when even the weather is reminding everyone that it is the holiday season, or is it the cultural hunger of the public that is finally ready to accept and understand contemporary art? The fact remains that the citizens of Almaty are particularly interested in Art Point.
The idea of creating a cultural space was born a long time ago, but its fulfillment has begun after Eurasian Cultural Alliance successfully held the fifth annual festival of contemporary art – ARTBAT FEST. The search for partners and sponsors began at the end of September 2014. The British Council has responded, but under the condition that the British influence would have to be obvious in the space. Therefore, it wasn't a coincidence that the architectural design for the cultural space was created by the British-Kazakh Atomik Architecture bureau.
Olga Veselova:
Famous because of their "Arman Alma-Ata" initiative, the union of two Britons and one Kazakhstani artist has definitely attracted attention, as Art Point's architecture also needed to reflect Almaty's original style. This solution satisfied the British Council. Also, working with a new public space was kind of an experiment for architects, which turned out to be useful.
The partner was found last September, and the team of organizers began accepting applications for Art Point program in April this year: "Initially there wasn't much demand – the creative community did not respond enthusiastically. However, we knew that the initiative was unfamiliar to the public and, so far, it was just words. As soon as people saw the results, there were tons of applications: in July, the program was filled until mid-September". A format that should fit the level set by Eurasian Cultural Alliance and the British Council was the main selection criterion. The public interest also heightened, which confirmed the relevance and the need for such a space in our city and in our country. But at the same time, as noted by Vladislav Sludskiy, the aim was not to achieve the largest attendance possible; it was to attract the right kind of audience. After all, the cultural co-working center was designed to be a creative environment for designers, artists, musicians, actors, and SMEs. The main idea was to give them the opportunity to organize meetings, presentations, events and other activities. It all started with Igor Sludskiy, the chairman of Eurasian Cultural Alliance, who, while visiting international festivals and exhibitions, got the idea to create similar conditions for communication on the basis of contemporary art in Kazakhstan. On the global level, it's these kinds of cultural events that allowed people to learn, communicate and to create projects together. For example, last year there was a communication platform in place of Art Point, created by the Dutch-Hungarian art group Refunc. This year, the plan was to create an amphitheater, which held a number of events and meetings within the framework of the fifth edition of ARTBAT FEST. Later, however, the organizers decided to create something more serious and permanent in this area. Art Point appeared as a result of this.
Vladislav Sludskiy:
Its form and content were well understood, but not what it was actually going to be filled with, because the basic idea was to create a communication platform between the creative cluster and the audience: free-of-charge for both. This raised questions, because the creative cluster in Kazakhstan is only roughly five years old, and there was no knowing of what quality of master classes, films, performances, and concerts to expect.
Olga Veselova:
On the one hand, there is an uninhabited wasteland, on the other, a very good place in the city.
From the very beginning, the team of organizers was trying to include all art forms.

As time has shown, the dialogue has been established quite successfully. The creative cluster has been activated, the public has been interested, and collaborations between the creative niche representatives gradually began to grow.
Olga Veselova:
A perfect example is Urban Re-Hub, which was held at Art Point. I know that its creators – an architect and an urbanist – had been thinking about the theme of urbanization. Art Point became the starting point in the creation of the project that has attracted many interested people. There were performances as well as workshops and lectures. Art critic Yuliya Sorokina organized the Astral Nomads project, which documented Central Asian art. It might seem like a niche product but, at the same time, people are interested in learning about the artists who live among them. We want more of this kind of initiatives, because Art Point was created for them.
Anel Moldahmetova
Light Space Bureau's producer of urban projects
I believe that Art Point is very beneficial, because it is the first of its kind – an open platform that allows participants to carry out their activities. This opportunity is priceless. It stimulates the development of interesting projects, because it is suitable for people who can't find a place, but want to hold their own event.

When I was running my own event, the theme was"Urban Projects". I wanted to hold it in an open area, not in some room, because the theme of the project was the city. In this regard, I liked the open area, which one can easily enter and exit, and the atmosphere of freedom it creates, where people are relaxed.

I have seen Art Point develop. While there weren't many people at the beginning of the summer; in July, the program of activities was filled until September. Therefore, the city, and even the whole country, need more cultural spaces like this one.
Altynay Imanbekova
architect
As an architect, I'm interested in Art Point because it brings people closer to arts. It is also useful for professionals because there aren't such co-working areas in Almaty, where conversations and meetings of any nature can be carried out at the proper level. For example, artists and designers could meet during an interesting event, share ideas, and then meet at Art Point to work on a mutual project.

As a professional, I liked that while I was partaking in an event, several new projects with various architects and designers had been initiated. As a member of the public, I liked the area because it raised the level of culture in the society, however grandiose it may sound. After all, people need to start moving towards a new, modern direction.
Pavel Mokich
artist
Art Point is the first sufficiently large cultural area in Almaty. I haven't seen anything like this before.

From my observations, this area has many masterclasses designed to develop arts and culture among children. There are also many programs for adults: a variety of events, exhibitions, and performances of different experimental groups. When you visit the platform, you realize that there aren't any other spaces like this, where you can spend your time usefully and with pleasure. There are no such places because the main objective of previous failed cultural spaces had been commerce; they exist for some time and then shut down. However, everything at Art Point is free, you can create all you want.
Pavel Bannikov
poet and essayist
The benefit of Art Point is that culture is claiming urban spaces. Obviously, the projects presented on the platform have different cultural significance. There are some really good projects, while others are just passable. But the fact is that it's happening and becoming a part of city life: people are getting used to the fact that art is not just an exhibition taking place somewhere sometime. Art can be anytime, anywhere, in any space of the city. This, of course, is good. I think this is one of the main goals of Art Point, and its masterminds did a great job. It is important that the platform is influencing the overall development of urban culture. With regard to some specific events, I would like to state that a person who is far from culture might get a culture shock just by attending a museum. Therefore, nobody is dragging anybody to the cultural space by force. This is a free country and everyone goes to those events that are close to them in spirit and that they consider worthy of their time.