‘News’ Category

7 Oct


We are delighted that Caban Sgriblio has secured three years of funding support from Children in Need to work with young people in schools and in the community during 2016-19.
Together we have been creating a real buzz for South Powys, Monmouthshire and Blaenau Gwent creating videos, poetry and art, having fun and sharing ideas through a variety of workshops with professional writers and artists.

To find out more go to http://artsalivewales.org.uk/wp/current-projects/caban/

If you would like to join us please contact Emma Beynon

Tel: 01873 811 579 or email: emma@artsalivewales.org.uk

30 Sep

Creative Network newsletter – OCTOBER 2016

Autumn is here in the Black Mountains and Creative Network members are busy with exhibitions, events and training. We’ve selected just a handful of activities below to pique your interest…

Please check the website website for latest updates on classes, events and Creative Network news.

best wishes
Rhoda Lane
Creative Network Co-ordinator




Matias Serra Delmar – Land Scape

An exhibition of landscape works by Herefordshire-based Matias Serra Delmar will open at Monow Valley Arts Centre in Walterstone from 28th September to 2nd October. Entry is by donation from 2pm to 6pm, and a private view will be on 29th September at 6pm, where works are available for sale.

On 1st October, Matias will give a painting and light observation workshop from 11am to 1pm, where light refreshments will be provided.

Places are limited and cost £10 to book (basic materials are included in the price).
Contact matiasserradelmar@gmail.com or phone 07752288819.

You can find out more about Matias and his work at www.matiasserradelmar.co.uk



Oliver Balch in Conversation with Ben Rawlence

On Saturday 1st October at 6pm, travel writer Oliver Balch will be at Arts Alive Wales HQ to discuss his latest book called Under the Tump: Sketches of Rural Life on the Welsh Borders. Inspired by the Victorian diarist Francis Kilvert, Balch chronicles the gentler pace of life in his new home town of Hay-on-Wye – a far cry from the bustling cities of London and Buenos Aires where he previously lived.

Oliver Balch is a UK freelance journalist specialising in business and world affairs, with work appearing in a wide range of international publications. His first book, Viva South America! was shortlisted as ‘Book of the Year’ at the UK Travel Press Awards.

Tickets cost £7 and can be bought from the Crickhowell Literary Festival event webpage.

The Festival runs 1 – 9 October in various locations across the town. Check out the website for further details on other events.



Blackwood Miners InstituteGRANTS ADVICE SESSION
Blackwood Miners’ Institute

A Grants Advice Session will be held on 13th October at Blackwood Miners Institute. If you are an artist or organisation and would like guidance from an Arts Council of Wales officer about your eligibility for a grant, book an appointment via email at information@arts.wales, or call on 0845 8734 900.

Each appointment lasts 40 minutes.

Before your session can be confirmed you need to complete a form (which can be downloaded from the webpage). Indicate the nature of your project and what kind of funding or assistance you are looking for, then email the form to information@arts.wales.



Dancing Floor Film

Gillian Hipp and Lyn Webster Wilde are working on the dance which will be the climax of The Dancing Floor film (www.dancingfloorfilm.com). They are running workshops for anyone who would like to be involved (aged 16 upwards). You can come to one or all of them.

The next sessions will take place at the Parish Hall in Lion Street in Hay-on-Wye from 10 am onwards:

Saturday October 15
Saturday November 19

They will be exploring, experimenting with sound and movement, investigating ideas and sequences for the final dance. There will be several different types of dance involved, but no prior experience is necessary – just an open mind. More on the nature of the dance in Lyn’s blog here.

Some time after Christmas they will start rehearsing for the live performances and the film.

For more info, email Lyn at dancingfloorfilm@gmail.com



Binocular: disturbance

Creative Network member Penny Hallas has been collaborating with Suffolk-based Caroline Wright on Binocular: disturbance.

The work, focusing on the Skirrid Mountain area, is an investigation into what it means to be familiar and unfamiliar with a place, being an insider and an outsider at the same time. What results is a collection of drawings, an exchange and display of objects, parallel walking, mapping of locations and other works.

The project is supported by Test Bed, Oriel Davies Gallery’s special programme which showcases new and experimental works. The exhibition runs from 22nd October until 25 February 2017 at Oriel Davies Gallery, Swansea.



Open to Creative Network Members

A collaborative group are gathering for the first time on Sunday 30th October in Abergavenny to begin sharing ideas around the Clydach Gorge.

Allison Neal has initiated the collaboration with notes on the culture, history, engineering, geology and nature of the Gorge. Artists willing to work freely and experimentally, to collaborate and share ideas are welcome to join in the discoveries we make. There will be a joint exhibition along the way.

Want to know more?  Email Catherine Wynne-Paton (wynnepaton@outlook.com ) for notes to begin your adventure.




Poetry with Lyndon Davies

During these relaxed and friendly evening classes poet Lyndon Davies will introduce four great French poets in translation, including Francois Villon, Pierre de Ronsard, Rimbaud and Guillaume Apollinaire.

Lyndon will give a short lecture about each poet and an overview of the context and history within which they worked as well as commenting on the translation of their work from French to English.

All participants are encouraged to read aloud in the informal atmosphere of the studio, ask questions and contribute to round table discussions. You’ll deepen your knowledge and critical appreciation of poetry along the way.
Suitable for all abilities.
2nd – 23rd November, 7pm – 8:30pm
£30 for 4 weeks

Book online or tel: 01873 811579 / email: info@artsalivewales.org.uk



City Stories

Mission Gallery in Swansea will exhibit City Stories, a collection of drawings, illustrations and paintings by selected artists which focus on the built environment and cityscapes. Among those artists is Creative Network member Philip Watkins, who enjoys depicting seaside resorts, industrial sites, estates and parks – “…anywhere where human activity comes up against nature.”

Other artists to feature in the exhibition include:

Tom Banks • Derek Bainton • Michelle Conway • Laura Edmunds • Catrin Llwyd
Rhiannon Lowe • Matthew Otten • Jonathan Powell • Jonathan Williams

Many of the works will be for sale, so this is a unique opportunity to own a contemporary piece, to support artists and contribute to the work of Mission Gallery.

City Stories runs from 26th November to 8th January. Find out more about the exhibition and the work of Mission Gallery on their website.




Kathryn Jarman is a Creative Network member specialising in textile art.

I am a fully qualified teacher but now work full time on my business. I initially did traditional Welsh quilting out of Welsh flannel and made other products but have now progressed to being more arts focused.

I am in the process of making a range of figurines in Traditional Welsh costume from the 1800’s onwards, with regional variations. Each county in Wales has their own interpretation of Traditional Welsh Costume and my figurines will display this. Some of them are on my Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/kathrynjarmantextiles/?fref=ts.   I have had a couple of my figurines exhibited at the Oriel Gallery in Crickhowell and am sourcing new venues to be able to display my work. 

I am passionate about teaching sewing in schools and have been working on writing a scheme of work to correlate with the current Welsh Education reforms due to be implemented in 2018 under the ‘Curriculum for Wales, Curriculum for Life’ remit. Some many children don’t have the opportunity to learn these basic skills anymore and I would like to do something about it!

You can get in touch with Kathryn via bopeepquilts@yahoo.co.uk.


If you have a news item or Spotlight profile that you would like to feature in our November newsletter, write to creative@artsalivewales.org.uk by Monday 24th October.


16 Sep

Arts & Education Network Launch

The Arts and Education Network: South East Wales is launching in Newport later this month. This network is for artists of all disciplines, art educators from cultural and heritage organisations, teachers and all those interested or involved in delivering creative projects in schools.

The launch event on Wednesday 28th September is open to all members of the network. You can apply for membership online. There’ll be lively talks, taster sessions from CPD workshop leaders, news about funding and other opportunities and the chance to meet other members over tea and cake.

The network is running a FREE CPD workshop in October aimed at artists who are interested in working with schools. One session will be held at Llantarnam Grange, and another at Blackwood Miners Institute.

For any queries, contact the Assistant Network Coordinator.

8 Jul

Summer Art School for ages 15+ – Portfolio+Plus

Portfolio+Plus Last chance to book on our week long summer school Monday 18 July to Saturday 22 July 2016.  This initiative is for MAT students aged 15 to 19 years  – young people with an interest and skills in the visual arts – and is part of an all Wales project to help encourage young people towards creative careers (the creative industries is the fastest growing industry in the UK).  Join in with this great initiative to help futureproof your career and have a really enjoyable week – no assessment, no exams, no homework!

Full programme and details here: Portfolio summer school  For more information about how to take part contact us on info@artsalivewales.org.uk OR ring 01873 811579 and leave a message.

stone carvingDSC05988FilmWorkshop with Keith BaylissPortfolioWorkshop with Keith Bayliss

27 Jun

SNAPSHOT Colours of the Brecon Beacons

Rebecca Chesney is the first Artist-in-Residence for the Black Mountains, in partnership with Peak and the Brecon Beacons National Park Authority. 

snapshot event 1
snapshot event 4
snapshot event 2

Rebecca completed a six-week residency during winter 2015/16. Please visit the Peak blog for more information: peakart.org.uk

Rebecca’s residency resulted in SNAPSHOT Colours of the Brecon Beacons, a unique colour chart that visualises the many layers of the Brecon Beacons environment during winter.


The SNAPSHOT chart was professionally designed and printed in a limited edition of 400.  The remaining colour charts are for sale at £10 + £1.50 postage & packing per copyIncome will support the Arts Alive Wales’ charitable projects in the local community.

Please visit our donate page to make a payment. artsalivewales.org.uk/donate (please do not tick the Gift Aid button for this purchase). If your postal address differs from your billing address please email details to rebecca@artsalivewales.org.uk

SNAPSHOT colour charts are now sold out. Sorry for any inconvenience involved.



23 Apr

Traces Exhibition


This Spring’s mini-fund has been awarded to three Creative Network members who will use the £300 fund to support a group exhibition of textile work at The Tabernacle, Talgarth during the Hay Festival period. 



An exhibition of work by


THE TABERNACLE , Talgarth, Powys

27 May- 5 June 2016

11am-5pm daily.


The artists will be available to discuss their work at a late closing on Wednesday 1st June . 6.30pm- 9.30pm.


Susan Milne: Traces - Remnant
Susan Milne: Traces work in progress
Susan Milne
Helen Watkins: Traces- work in progress
Helen Watkins: Traces - detail
Helen Watkins: Traces- work in progress
Katherine Sheers - Traces 01
Katherine Sheers - Traces 12
Katherine Sheers


Traces is an exhibition of new work at The Tabernacle, Talgarth, by Susan Milne, Katherine Sheers and Helen Watkins. The artists have come together through a mutual love of textiles and collectively they occupy the practices of art, craft, design and the spaces in between. The exhibition draws a thread through both personal and communal history; bringing to light the cloth we wear close to our bodies during a lifetime and the textile fragments of our ancestors buried beneath the surface.

The artists apply a range of processes and techniques including embroidery, drawing, construction, stitching, and dyeing. Susan unearths decaying remnants of garments and archeological layers of human presence in our landscape and makes works in paper and collage. Katherine creates exquisite silk and lace specimens of concealment dyed with the purple fruits of local hedgerows. Helen’s banners of natural colour and woven texture are embroidered with the marks of human interaction in the Black Mountains.

Although each artist has a defined individual practice, there is an intriguing synergy amongst the three. The work of one artist imparts a further layer of meaning to another’s, and produces a cohesive and quietly powerful exhibition that responds sensitively to the unique interior of The Tabernacle.

Rebecca Spooner
Arts Development Manager



SUSAN MILNE: Artist working with ideas about land and the development of the landscape. Current work: disintegration and fragmentation of organic and inorganic matter. The work, relating to garments and textiles, is made with mixed media, paper and fibers, and derives from drawings made from archeological fragments and museum artefacts. www.susanmilne.co.uk

KATHERINE SHEERS: Textile artist whose work questions the fundamental aspects of human emotion and how they relate to contemporary ideals of womanhood. Current work: specimens of concealment and vulnerability. Utilising the slow, ancient processes of natural dyeing and hand-stitching to colour, mark, reinforce and disguise upcycled silk, lace and cotton. www.katherinesheers.com

HELEN WATKINS: Textile artist and designer whose work is informed and inspired by the rites and rhythms of the surrounding agricultural landscape. Current work: natural plant dyed fabrics of linen, wool and silk; cutting, turning, crossing, joining, marking, represent an active, mindful and meditative intervention.


Photo credit for Susan Milne and Helen Watkins: ‘Ann Dierikx Photography’

creative_network_logo-lrg (2)

Click here for more information about the Creative Network

24 Mar

Meet The Professionals: Editing and Publishing

Rachel Trezise LSSF (2)


Leading local authors Rachel Trezise and Tom Bullough will be talking to members of the Seren Publishing Team about their work at the Creative Network panel event 4 – 5.30pm on Friday 22 April at the Abergavenny Writing Festival. For more information and to book a ticket please follow this link : Meet The Professionals


20150623_Tom_Bullough_Shot 1_032

14 Dec

Spring Term 2016

spring posterYou can now donwnload the new Spring programme for information about our classes and events from January to April 2016.

Click here: Spring 2016

For more information and to book a place contact:
t: 01873 811579
e: info@artsalivewales.org.uk

19 Aug

Autumn Programme 2015

autumn 2015You can download the Arts Alive Wales Autumn programme straight to your desktop. The programme has details of all our classes, courses and projects.


Click here: AWW Autumn 2015 booklet

27 Mar

Summer Programme 2015

IMG_2184You can download the Arts Alive Wales Summer programme straight to your desktop. The programme has details of all our classes, courses and projects.

Click here: Arts Alive Wales Summer Programme 2015

13 Mar


Thank  you!

£15,000 raised to support AAW projects for young people


Art Auction 2015Our 2015 Art Auction took place on Friday 6th March in the ballroom of The Angel Hotel, Abergavenny.  This biennial event raises money for our community projects with vulnerable groups and individuals, show-cases the talents of leading contemporary artists in Wales, as well as being a lively and fun evening for our guests. Please scroll down to view artworks that are still available to purchase. 


Art Auction 2015This year the auction raised £15,000 towards ‘Caban’, our new community project focused on teenagers and mental health.  We will use writing, drawing and making to help improve the wellbeing of young people.  Our pilot projects have demonstrated strong evidence that arts participation helps improve quality of life and we are now working closely with local mental health services to extend provision. Click here for short films from the pilot project of Caban.


Art Auction 2015The 2015 auction was dedicated to the memory of sculptor Catharine Marr-Johnson, former trustee and Patron of our Children and Young People’s programme, who sadly died in May 2014. Catharine continued to be an inspiration in the way she continued to draw, paint and create despite the increasing physical challenges presented by a diagnosis of Motor Neurone Disease.



Art Auction 2015Should you have any questions about any aspect of the event, or would like to know more about our community work, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

Justine Wheatley, Director

Email: justine@artsalivewales.org.uk

Tel: 01873 811579

(Images above from art auction 2015. Photo credit: Toril Brancher)

Auction Partners

The auction is a unique opportunity to purchase original paintings and prints, by selected contemporary artists, in association with our art partners, Five Ways Art and The Art Shop AbergavennyEdward Chetwynd (www.chetwyndantiques.com) was our event auctioneer, who’s lively and relaxed style added to the enjoyment of the event. Art handling and auction floor management is provided by our colleagues at Art Works Exhibition Services.








11 Dec

Spring Programme 2015

AAW Spring 2015You can download the Arts Alive Wales Spring programme straight to your desktop. The programme has details of all our classes, courses and projects.

Click here: AWW Spring 2015 booklet web

14 Oct

PEAK – Curator Visit to the Black Mountains


As part of PEAK, Axisweb’s Alicia Miller, responds to a Curator Visit to the Black Mountains, meeting selected artists in studios and venues across the region.

24th September 2014 


Saying hello to Morag Colquhoun's horse
Work by Morag Colquhoun
Morag Colquhoun
Tessa Waite's studio
Tessa Waite's studio
Alicia Miller with work by Tessa Waite
Work by Susan Adams
Susan Adams
Chris Nurse
Work by Chris Nurse
Work by Chris Nurse
Catherine Baker and Kasia Howard
Louisa Mayor and Philip Watkins
Work by Catherine Baker
David Trigg
Visitors outside Glasfryn, Llangattock
Alicia Miller with work by Pip Woolf
Emma Balch, Stefhan Caddick, Rebecca Spooner
Alicia Miller with work by Stefhan Caddick
Pip Woolf, Louisa Mayor
Louise Wright, Rebecca Spooner, David Trigg, Alicia Miller


PEAK practice in the Black Mountains


Arts Alive Wales’ new PEAK programme gives valuable support to artists working in the Black Mountains, helping to better network them with arts professionals and the wider artistic community at large. It also works to engender artistic exchange and explore opportunities to bring attention and support to the immensely talented community of artists working in this very rural setting.

I was really pleased to be a part of the first curator visit of the project. It was just my kind of day out – travelling through the countryside in beautiful sunshine, visiting a fascinating array of artists’ studios and houses, meeting a generous and friendly group of artists and seeing a lot of work I hadn’t encountered before. The company was good as well – including Kathryn Campbell Dodd, my west Wales compatriot who travelled back with me on an unending train journey plagued with mayhem and mishaps; the gentle and insightful Amanda Roderick from Mission Gallery; Bristol-based critic David Trigg whom I hadn’t seen in years; Ruth Cayford, who took time out to make the visit in the busy run-up to Cardiff Contemporary; and ACW‘s Louise Wright who somehow manages to be omnipresent across Wales at all times!

The day started with a visit to the house of artist Penny Hallas and poet Lyndon Davies, to see work by Philip Watkins and Catherine Baker, both unfamiliar to me. Watkins admitted to not being particularly proactive in raising the profile of his work, though he has in fact shown quite widely. His stark and unforgiving paintings of industrial sites, deserted streets and other banalities of landscape have an arid beauty. He admits to ‘trying to reconcile living in such a pretty place with my penchant for council estates and underpasses.’

Throughout the day, there is conversation between artists and curators about the context of the work – the impact of the rural locale on the artists’ practice and career is of varying relevance and there is some sense that the relationship to the place of their work is anything but direct. What rurality does afford is quietness and space – Morag Colquhoun‘s studio on the Penpont Estate may be small and compact but it breathes in the breadth of its surrounding countryside, making it impossible to feel cramped. With nature a constant companion, there is always room.

Talking with Pip Woolf at the Arts Alive Wales studio, we discuss the definition of contemporary art. She questions where her work ‘fits’, and I ask if it really matters? It seems to me that ‘contemporary art’ is a wide sphere of practice whose only definition might be a commitment to interrogate its past, present and future in some way. The studio space offers a place to crack this open – it is a test bed for the imagination where process meets practice. The studios we saw during the day were particular and idiosyncratic, most especially that of Susan Adams and Chris Nurse. Built in their garden, it houses both their diverse practices, which sit beside each other with a strange familiarity. Adams’ oversized automaton crouches in the corner making the space feel more than a little off kilter, and it crackles with creativity.

It’s quite important for curators to be gathered up and taken off to see work – it gives them license to walk away from the administration they are often trapped in and spend crucial ‘looking’ time that reminds them why they love what they do. Vital as this is, it can get squeezed out in the pressure to get the next show up or the next grant written. Making it easy is so valuable to these art professionals. Rebecca Spooner‘s careful coordination of the day, meant there was no rushing. The schedule gave ample time to see and talk and have a valuable exchange. Though some of the group knew the artists visited that day, most admitted there were a few they weren’t familiar with. Several curators commented that it had given them a better ‘mental map’ of artists working in the region and some overview of their practice. These kind of meetings may not have concrete outcomes for the artists involved but they are important in increasing a sphere of awareness of their work. Getting work seen is as important to artists as seeing work is to curators.

- Alicia Miller



Catherine Baker

Philip Watkins

Stefhan Caddick

Pip Woolf

Morag Colquhoun

Tessa Waite

Susan Adams

Chris Nurse

Download details of the artistsPEAK Artists


Artist Photographer: Toril Brancher (photo credit)



Louise Wright, Portfolio Manager, Arts Council of Wales

Kasia Howard, Education Officer, The Landmark Trust

Kathryn Campbell Dodd, Gallery Assistant, Oriel Myrddin

David Trigg, freelance writer and critic

Gavin Johnson, Film Regeneration and Development Manager, Ffilm Cymru Wales

Alicia Miller, Axisweb Associate in Wales, Axisweb

Amanda Roderick, Director, Mission Gallery

Louisa Mayor, Assistant Curator, Meadow Arts

Ruth Cayford, Project Leader, Cardiff Contemporary

Download details of the visitors: PEAK Visitors


Rebecca Spooner, Arts Development Manager, Arts Alive Wales

Emma Balch, PEAK Project Assistant, Arts Alive Wales


PEAK is an initiative devised and delivered by Arts Alive Wales, seeking to develop platforms for contemporary art in the Black Mountains.


Arts Council of Wales

15 Sep

New Grant from the Clore Duffield Poetry and Literature Awards

Thanks to a generous grant by the Clore Duffield Poetry and Literature Awards, Arts Alive Wales are pleased to announce that the Caban Sgriblio project will continue in 2015. Young people identified through Powys education and health partners will be invited to writing workshops exploring the work of contemporary Welsh poets to develop their own poetry and writing style for a performance on film. The aim of the project is to improve their resilience, confidence and aspirations.

Caban Sgriblio first started in late 2013 as a pilot project to help develop the confidence of young people in Powys schools. Working at Llandrindod Wells, Builth Wells and Crickhowell schools, writers Emma Beynon and Rebecca Loncraine led three groups of children into writing workshops geared towards building confidence and helping to realise their own unique voice. The effect of the project has been stark, with one teacher commenting that “some of the students who would have perhaps been more isolated in classroom situations [were] brave and prepared to share their views, or instead of working alone, actually working with a partner”.

Arts Alive Wales is one of only twelve charities to receive the grant and would like to thank the Clore Duffield Foundation for its support of Caban Sgriblio.

19 Aug

Autumn Programme 2014

Autumn 2014

Download the Arts Alive Wales autumn programme straight to your desktop.


click here: Arts Alive Wales AUTUMN 2014



What's On

Click a date to see details of events and classes

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Fri 29

POTTERY – autumn term

September 29 @ 2:00 pm - 5:00 pm
Sat 30

LIFE DRAWING – autumn term

September 30 @ 10:00 am - 3:00 pm