Enjoy art and poetry while you shop at Doncaster Frenchgate centre

Paddy Mellon, general manager at the Frenchgate Shopping Centre, Doncaster.
Paddy Mellon, general manager at the Frenchgate Shopping Centre, Doncaster.

Doncaster talent will be in the frame at Frenchgate as the shopping centre opens up a new exhibition space later this month.

Work by local artists and poets will be showcased to visitors in the area that connects the shopping centre to the town’s train station – which will be called ‘The Art Space at Frenchgate’.

A poetry exhibition, titled ‘These poets, our kin / These poems, our stories’ will now be hosted in The Art Space and curated by Dan Ryder, a Doncaster-based poet, editor and social media manager at Doncopolitan magazine.

He said: “The Frenchgate Centre’s decision to present an opportunity of this size to an emerging local creative like myself is really pleasing.

“At least 15 poets, who all either grew up in the borough of Doncaster or currently call Doncaster home, will feature in the exhibition.

“The poetry scene in Doncaster is in excellent health due to accessible and engaging creative writing workshops, open-mic nights, and also the Ted Hughes Poetry Festival which returns to Mexborough on June 23 to 25. The Former poet laureate spent his school and some years as a poet in Mexborough between 1938 to 1951.

“Giving local poets such a visible and public platform to display their work is really exciting – more than 17,000 people will walk through the space every day!”

Paddy Mellon, general manager at the Frenchgate, said: “We want this art space and future exhibitions to be about championing the creative community on our doorstep – supporting and showcasing their talent. We are thrilled to be creating our very own cultural hotspot for the town.

“We are also keen to strengthen the Centre’s position within the region’s retail sector further by expanding our offering. Our vision is to make a visit to Frenchgate a more fulfilling experience where people do more than simply shop.”

The poetry exhibition has also been supported by a partnership between Doncopolitan and Right Up Our Street.

Rachel Horne, Co-Founder and Co-Editor of Doncopolitan, said: “We are delighted Frenchgate has decided to support this initiative. We believe art and culture should be at the heart of everything.

“We are proud to say our shopping centre is embracing local artists and showcasing how creative and talented local people truly are.”

‘The Art Space’ follows on from ‘Making Tracks – Past, Present and Future’ exhibition, which went on display earlier this year at the centre in two units on the ground floor of the West Mall. The collection of rare ‘railwayana’ showcased the borough’s rail heritage, the present day rail sector, and the future of rail in Doncaster.

The new Art Space and the poetry exhibition are expected to be open by the end of March.