Mă Numesc Cartier
Of Bucharest’s 228 square kilometres, only 1km is culturally significant, situated in the over-saturated centre of the city.
The Make a Point arts centre tries to decongest the centre by facilitating cultural happenings in the city’s outskirts, in neighbourhoods, abandoned halls, factories or other such locations.
The headquarters of Make a Point is on the ground floor of an old textile factory in Pantelimon, Postavaria Romana (1925-2008). The 130 square metre open space is used as an art gallery, workshop and lecture space, or movie house, depending on the type of project.
Apart from this, Make a Point also benefits from a more nonconventional space – a 37m high water tower. Make a Point reintegrated the tower in the cultural circuit by building a spiral staircase around it, so visitors can view the eastern part of Bucharest, a former communist neighbourhood, from up high. The tower also accommodates exhibitions and on-site art experiments.
Make a Point is founded by people with very different backgrounds – from art curators, artists, sociologists to film directors and journalists. This allows it to engage in more than just arts projects and extend towards activities carried out for and with the neighbourhood’s residents.
One of these projects is Mă Numesc Cartier (My Name is Neighbourhood), implemented in the second half of 2011, which consisted of a series of alternative leisure events organized for the inhabitants of Pantelimon.
The continuous activity sustained by Make a Point helped it attract financing from AFCN (Administration of the National Cultural Fund), Youth in Action and also private donations that allowed a program extended on a timeline of four months.
The project had three main objectives. First of all, bringing cultural events to a neglected, peripheral part of the city that lacks a public infrastructure for artistic or recreational activities.
The events organized by Make a Point included a documentary exhibition and an art exhibition, both related to the realities and history of the neighbourhood; the already traditional weekly film projections Make a Joi, weekend activities in Morarilor Park, bicycle tours and photography workshops. The overall theme of the events was the urban life, with its shortcomings and potentialities.
The project ended with a seminar in which the public and other NGOs were invited to discuss and debate the subjects tackled by Make a Point’s program and also other similar programs taking place in Bucharest and in Europe.
The second objective was to carry out sociological research. The team of sociologists did a series of interviews and photoreports in order to identify the preferences of the residents regarding the ways of spending their free time in the neighbourhood.
The third objective was to give Make a Point more visibility and ultimately to transform the space into a platform where the creative and active people in the neighbourhood attend stimulating events and exchange new ideas.
The project was promoted on Make a Point’s online network and then broadcasted on various blogs, sites, TV programs, radio stations and newspapers. Eventually, Mă Numesc Cartier was given an award at the Civil Society Gala for its social impact and innovative practice.
By the means of this project, Make a Point put the focus on the needs of the inhabitants of peripheral areas and on the necessity of other social initiatives that would take care of these needs and facilitate interaction and socialising between social actors in public spaces.