Glynn Vivian Art Gallery: blog

November 21, 2014
by Laura

Joan Sparkles at YMCA

Joan Jones, Untitled (hag) 2014

Joan Jones, Untitled (hag) 2014

This Saturday, Joan Jones, our current Glynn Vivian Artist in Residence will be appearing as part of the line up for Swansea Sparkle 2014, organised by Tawe Butterflies.

YMCA will be hosting the all day event from 12pm til 4.30pm and 7pm til late, which includes stalls, live music, performances and more.

During the day, Joan Jones will launch the new edition of their zine, The Sexual Life of Stevie Smith (SLSS), a new essay/poem speculating on Joan’s transgender childhood, their refusal of binary gendering, and on how one functions in a predominantly cis society – free poster included!

Come along and visit Joan’s stall and buy a zine for 50p.

Stick around until 4pm when Joan will be performing a live action in the Gallery’s offsite space on the 3rd floor. Joan would like to encourage you to come dressed as your ultimate-gender fantasy.

Joan has plenty more in store for the residency which continues until February 2015. Joan is currently working on a Christmas single, which will be available to hear in the run up to Christmas. Joan hopes to form a band through working with the YMCA’s LGBT group and will be recording in the coming weeks.

For events in the New Year, including Joan’s Open Studio and a Valentines’ Day revenge disco, see our website.

November 11, 2014
by Laura

Art With Friends

Art With Friends Workshops, August 2014

Art With Friends Workshops, August 2014

A collaborative online book has been made prepared by children aged 4 – 14, in association with Cymru’n Cofio Wales Remembers.

To mark the centenary of the First World War, Glynn Vivian delivered a series of workshops examining the role of the artist during the war using works from Gallery collection.

The three workshops for different age groups took place from 5 to 7 August, 2014 during the school summer holidays and offered creative skills in poetry, graphics, printmaking and drawing.

The workshops were supported by the Friends of the Glynn Vivian Art Gallery in a new initiative called ‘Art with Friends’ and took place at the YMCA, Swansea.

Children aged 4-7 focused on collage and colour in a workshop with artist Tom Goddard. The children were tasked with looking at mood and motion, specifically ‘A British tank’ by Sir Muirhead Bone and Paul Nash, ‘Landscape of the Bagley Woods’. The group were able to get around the difficult subject by listening to historical radio footage as well as hearing poetry from the time.

In the workshop for 8-11 year olds, children explored the motivations for war during peacetime learning a range of printmaking techniques with artist Dan McCabe. The group focussed on works including ‘Cavalry Crossing the Piave, 1918‘ by Martin Hardie and ‘Study of Soldiers’ by Frank Brangwyn.

Writer and poet Tracy Harris worked with 12-14 year olds to devise their own play which they performed at the end of the day. They used influences such as ‘Mametz Wood’ by Edward Handley-Read and David Jones’ epic poem ‘In Parenthesis’.

The work has now been collected and presented in a collaborative book which is available to view here.

Part of the Glynn Vivian Offsite programme whilst the Gallery is closed for redevelopment.

November 7, 2014
by Laura

Glynn Vivian team showcase innovation in Gallery Learning

Young Art Force - Gif drawing image

Young Art Force – Gif drawing image

Next week, the 2014 engage International Conference will be landing in Leeds, to bring together some of the most exciting practitioners and artists from within the gallery education sector.

Delegates will be exploring the broad and inspiring theme of innovation in education and learning in galleries, museums and the visual arts.

The programme will consider gallery education, examining where practice has been innovative in the past, in the present, and how it can continue to innovate in the future.

There will be a particular focus on the potential of digital technologies to encourage new ways of engaging with art and ideas, and discussion about the importance of innovation and education across different art forms.

During the two day event, Glynn Vivian Art Gallery Learning and Participation Officer, Tom Goddard, and Learning Assistant, Dan McCabe, will be hosting a practical session – demonstrating how to produce an animated Gif using works from the Gallery’s collection.

Tom and Dan have been using the technique as part of the Gallery’s ‘Young Art Force project, inspiring young people aged 14 -25 in to connect with the arts through taking part in creative art activities.

The ‘Young Art Force’ project, which began in April 2014, is part of engage Cymru’s Momentum programme to help to help young people to achieve their bronze Arts Award.

The Arts Award is a nationally recognised qualification to support young people to develop their creativity, leadership and communication skills enabling them to progress into further education and employment.

The Glynn Vivian team, alongside artist Anna Barratt, were applauded by Arts Award for how they challenged young people’s perspectives, by providing them with an excellent quality and range of experiences and opportunities to learn.

The engage conference takes place on Monday 10 and Tuesday 11 November. To find out more, visit the engage website or follow engage on Twitter @engagevisualart #engconf14.

October 29, 2014
by Rory Duckhouse

Matt Cook: Artist Talk


Matt Cook, Comb Sculpture

Matt Cook, Comb Sculpture

Join us at the YMCA on Thursday 30 October  at 5.30pm to listen to artist  Matt Cook talk about his recent practice including work made for Cardiff Contemporary and his Creative Wales Award.

Matt Cook combines elements of sound, installation, assemblage and performance to create artworks inspired by walking in the city. Matt will discuss the inspiration behind his public installation for Cardiff Contemporary and the progress made with his Creative Wales award.

Matt Cook works with materials he finds in everyday life: objects, sounds, sights, sites, and experience, which he reassembles into installation and performance works that attempt to recreate his experience of the world.

matt cookHe has a particular interest in the city, its ambience and topography, which he approaches through walking, looking, listening, thinking and feeling. He reveals hidden structures in everyday life, sights and sounds that we regularly experience, but don’t usually notice.

Common to all his works is a live element, they are sonic and kinetic or demonstrate a real or imagined temporality.

Previous work includes commissions and exhibitions for firstsite, Colchester; Wysing Arts, Cambridge; Chapter, Cardiff; BCA, Bedford.

As well as his art practice, Matt also manages Warwick Hall Studios.

Visit the artist’s website.

To find out about other Glynn Vivian Offsite Artist Talks and Events, go to

Free, everyone welcome, no booking required.

October 29, 2014
by Laura

Glynn Vivian Road Show rolls into St Thomas, Swansea

'My Collection' at the Glynn Vivian Road Show

‘My Collection’ at the Glynn Vivian Road Show

We’re stopping by in St Thomas this half term – taking art to community door-steps across Swansea.

This Thursday 30 October the Gallery team will be visiting St Thomas Primary School to share our handling collection and offer free arts activities.

Special workshops have been planned for the day including painting demonstrations, paint mixing and hands-on creative workshops for all the family.

St. Thomas Primary School create 'Senses Boxes' for the Glynn Vivian Road Show

St. Thomas Primary School create ‘Senses Boxes’ for the Glynn Vivian Road Show

School children from St Thomas Primary have also been getting involved with the Road Show events this term by creating their own artwork inspired by the Gallery collection which will be on display for parents to come and see.

As part of the Road Shows we have been asking visitors to select art works from the collection, to be reproduced and put on display at community centres and various places in the city.

The Gallery has already installed up to 40 images from the collection in ARC in Portmead, Swansea Community Farm in Fforestfach and on the Vetch Field in Sandfields, and some of the school children from St Thomas Primary have been selecting their favourite works to be put on display in their classrooms.

We’re also urging people to come and share their own collections with the community too. Whether it’s toys, football memorabilia, vinyl records, stamps, cards or badges they want residents to bring along and talk about their treasured possessions.

The whole event is free and is open at 12-4pm.

St Thomas Library will be offering free Halloween workshops from 2.30pm for visitors to take part.

The Gallery is supported by a grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund to develop a learning and participation programme relating to the original Richard Glynn Vivian bequest.

Have a look at or call 01792 516900 for more information.

October 27, 2014
by Laura

Poems in October: Dylan Thomas and Shakespeare

Poems in October: Dylan Thomas and Shakespeare Location map

Poems in October: Dylan Thomas and Shakespeare. Location map

If you are visiting Swansea over the next two weeks, you may find that you happen upon poetry by Dylan Thomas and William Shakespeare appearing in different venues, and in unexpected places throughout Swansea City Centre.

Beginning today, Monday 27 October, Glynn Vivian Offsite presents Poems in October: Dylan Thomas and Shakespeare, a sound project in partnership with the Royal Shakespeare Company.

The project has been inspired by one of Dylan’s early influences: his love of William Shakespeare which his father read to him as a child.

Staff at Glynn Vivian Gallery has been working in collaboration with Swansea University’s Centre for Research into the English Literature and Language of Wales (CREW) and the Dylan Thomas Centre to choose texts which explore the rhythms and cadences between the two poets.

The minute long sound recordings include extracts from Shakespeare’s Macbeth, Othello and King Lear alongside works from Dylan Thomas including Foster the Light and an extract from The Long Legged Bait.

From Swansea railway station to some of the famous pubs Dylan visited, you can hear the works of the two writers, brought to life by Michael Sheen and actors from the Royal Shakespeare Company.

The sound bites will appear intermittently in venues in different places, in the Quadrant shopping centre and Swansea Market. The recordings will also be available at three central hubs, the Dylan Thomas Centre, the Kardomah Coffee Shop and Swansea Central Library, where visitors can sit and listen to the sound clips in their entirety.

We would like to thank Michael Sheen, the actors from the Royal Shakespeare Company and staff from all of the participating venues.

The project is part of Swansea Council’s Dylan Thomas Festival 2014 and coincides with the 450th centenary celebrations of Shakespeare’s birth.

For more information about where to hear the recordings and discover all the venues involved, please visit

Exhibition continues throughout the Dylan Thomas Festival 2014 until 9 November.

October 24, 2014
by Laura

Alternative Art School: Drawing & Painting

Alternative Art School Exhibition, Swansea City Centre

Alternative Art School Exhibition, Swansea City Centre

Works of art painted by Swansea adults with learning disabilities are now on display for hundreds of city centre visitors to see.

The exhibition of works are on display at 39 Union Street (near the entrance to the Quadrant) – a formerly empty building that’s been transformed into a creative space where people can give views on how the city centre can best be improved in future as part of the ‘You are Here’ project.

The artworks on display have come about thanks to a partnership between the Glynn Vivian Art Gallery and Swansea Council Day Service groups, Gorseinion, Abergelli, Toronto Place, The Beeches and Fforestfach.

The Swansea Day Service groups have been attending Glynn Vivian Art Gallery workshops since 2010 and now visit us at our offsite base at the YMCA.

Art work on display

Art work on display

The ‘Alternative Art School’ is part of a 12 month programme working with adults with severe learning difficulties giving them courses in traditional media techniques, as well as striving to improve individual self-esteem and well being and enable feelings of empowerment and independence.

In this exhibition the participants are sharing the work they have produced in the first two modules and there are over 20 people taking part from all the Day Service groups.

Over 65,000 people have benefitted from our offsite programme since the Gallery building closed for a major refurbishment and these paintings on display follow on from the works of an over 55s group that recently went up in the Civic Centre.

Swansea Council has opened up the consultation base in Union Street in partnership with a creative local group called The Rhizome Collective to allow people the chance to give feedback on the city centre. All views will be considered by the council as part of a broader city centre review.

The Rhizome Collective will also soon be transforming the former City Centre Management office on Plymouth Street into a consultation space in partnership with the Swansea Library Service.

Follow @yahswansea on Twitter, check out or have a look at for updates on venues, days and times to give your feedback. The exhibition continues until 2 November.

October 17, 2014
by Laura

Group Perspectives: Past and Present

Over 55's (Glyn Vivian Art Gallery) Art class at the YMCA in Swansea

Over 55’s (Glyn Vivian Art Gallery) Art class at the YMCA in Swansea

A new exhibition of work by the Gallery’s Wednesday afternoon adult art class is now on display at the Civic Centre in Swansea. Reproductions of works by famous Welsh artists like Gwen John and Joseph Herman are among the selection of drawing and paintings which can be found on the second floor corridor, next to the council chambers.

The art classes for the over 55s, run at the YMCA on The Kingsway, began at the Gallery in January 2010.

The classes were set up to inspire our adult audiences to learn new skills through workshops focused around the collection, exhibitions and their own personal experiences. Whilst this display comprises paintings, drawings and prints, people taking part in the workshops have been able to work with a variety of materials and techniques, ranging from clay and plaster to drawing and print. Tablet computers have also been used to create digital artworks.

In this display, we’re showcasing the work the group has made both independently outside of the classes prior to attending the group, and through participating regularly. The classes give participants the opportunity to meet new people and to look, discuss and create artworks. For some, the classes have provided an opportunity to rekindle a passion for making artworks that was hampered by ill-health or circumstance. For others, it has been a chance to be creative where the opportunity, space or technical know-how was not available before.

This exhibition presents a small selection of their artworks and recognises their diverse output to date.

The work is open for everyone to view, for directions, please ask at the main reception desk at the Civic Centre.

The Wednesday afternoon adult classes for over 55s are currently full.

To register your interest and put your name on our reserve list, call the Gallery on 01792 516900. For a full programme of Offsite activities and workshops, please visit our website.

September 11, 2014
by Laura

The Wakelin Award 2014

Clare Woods, 'Untitled', 2009. Courtesy of the artist and Buchmann Galerie Berlin

Clare Woods, ‘Untitled’, 2009. Courtesy of the artist and Buchmann Galerie Berlin

Join us for the presentation of this year’s Wakelin Award which is taking place this Friday 12 September at 6.30pm, at the National Waterfront Museum in Swansea.

The Gallery’s annual award is given to a Welsh artist, whose work is purchased for the Glynn Vivian Art Gallery’s Permanent Collection. Previous award winners include Robert Harding, David Tress, Pete Davis, Craig Wood, David Garner, Tim Davies, Dick Chappell, Brendan Stuart Burns, Anthony Shapland, Catrin Webster, Jonathan Anderson, Meri Wells, David Cushway and Helen Sear.

The winner for 2014 is Clare Woods.

Clare Woods originally trained in sculpture, and has since developed her practice as a painter, rooting her work in the landscape of Wales. Until recently, her paintings were often very large in scale and executed in gloss and enamel paints. Over the past few years she has made smaller, more intimately scaled works, using oil on aluminium. These new works feature in the artist’s first major exhibition in Wales, A Tree A Rock A Cloud, currently at Oriel Davies Gallery, Newtown. Glynn Vivian Art Gallery is therefore very pleased to present a selection of Clare’s paintings in the medium of watercolour, to complement her work in this important exhibition.

Clare Woods was born in Southampton in 1972, and completed her MA in Fine Art at Goldsmith’s College, London in 1999, following a BA in Fine Art at Bath College of Art. She has exhibited widely in the UK, Europe and America and her work is represented increasingly in major collections including Amgueddfa Cymru – National Museum Wales which purchased Hill of Hurdles, 2010. She has recently had solo exhibitions in Southampton, London, Wakefield, Copenhagen and Berlin.

This year’s selector is Amanda Farr, Director of Oriel Davies Gallery, Newtown.  Amanda has selected the work of Clare Woods because of the remarkable compositions, often revealing tensions between solid form and hollow space, playing with foreground and background, to set up curious and unsettling situations.

Selector, Amanda Farr says of the work, ”In working with Clare Woods for the exhibition at Oriel Davies, I realised that there was a whole body of remarkable watercolours which would really work well in the context of Glynn Vivian Art Gallery’s collection, which includes such a long tradition of  outstanding Welsh landscapes from the 18th century onwards. To add contemporary work from the 21st century seemed to offer great richness and relevance for future generations to enjoy. I love the watercolours for their play with light and shade, for their colour and vibrancy, and the excitement of working in such a fluid and dynamic way on a large scale”.

Clare Woods says, “The watercolours which will be on display were inspired by the time I spent exploring the Welsh landscape in recent years, so I am delighted that my work will be joining a major public collection in Swansea, and I am pleased to have been selected. The Wakelin Award offers recognition and is enabling for artists such as myself, and I would like to thank the organisers for their generosity. I am sure there are many other artists who will be supported by the Award in time to come”.   

The Award is administered by the Friends of the Glynn Vivian Art Gallery and is generously supported by donations in memory of Richard and Rosemary Wakelin, who were themselves artists and active supporters of the arts in Swansea. Their son, Dr Peter Wakelin, said, “‘It is important for both artists and museums that current works are added to the collections of the future. We are very grateful to the Friends of the Glynn Vivian for supporting this Award and helping to maintain the Gallery’s reputation as one of the best places to see Welsh art, even in this period when it’s closed during major refurbishment. People are always astonished when they find out how small the purchasing budgets are for public galleries in Wales, which need all the help they can get to represent current Welsh art in their collections.”

The Award will be presented at 6.30pm, Friday 12 September at the National Waterfront Museum Swansea. Admission is free.

August 13, 2014
by Laura

It’s an Art Party

Image Credit - Tony Bartholemew

Image Credit – Tony Bartholemew

On Thursday 21 August, GCSE results day, the Glynn Vivian Art Gallery will be joining up with other galleries across the UK to simultaneous screen Art Party; a new film collaboration between director Tim Newton and artist Bob and Roberta Smith.

The film will appear on the Big Screen in Castle Square from 5pm and our young people’s group Black Kettle Collective have been getting in the party spirit by organising events to help celebrate this momentous event.

On Friday 15 August from 1 – 4pm, Black Kettle Collective will be hosting a one-off  ‘Art Party Tie Dye Workshop’ at the YMCA. They will be showing you how to make swirly rainbow paintings on fabric, for you to wear at the Art Party. Plain T-shirts are provided but feel free to bring your own items to dye onto.

Booking is essential so call 01792 516900 or email to signup.

If you can’t make the workshops but would like to join the Art Party, then don’t panic – Black Kettle would also like to invite you to dress as your favourite artist to join our fun parade through Castle Square from 5pm showing off your wacky costumes and rainbow creations.

Megan Leigh from Black Kettle said “Our celebration of Arts Party will be vibrant, swirly and one of a kind!”

You can follow the Art party on Twitter using #artparty2014. Don’t forget to tag @GlynnVivian #tiedye #myfavouriteartist

Image Credit -  Tony Bartholemew

Image Credit – Tony Bartholemew

About Art Party In November 2013, artist Bob & Roberta Smith hosted The Art Party Conference in Scarborough, an artist’s alternative to the annual party political conference that often happen in coastal towns. It presented an opportunity to celebrate art and artists, acting as a forum for debating the future of the arts in the climate of spending cuts and changes to the education system. The aim of the conference was to better advocate the arts in education to Government.

Out of the conference came The Art Party film, part documentary, part road movie and part political fantasy, The Art Party feature film captures the spirit of the Scarborough conference, championing the importance of art and its place in education and modern politics. The film stars John Voce as Michael Grove MP and Julia Rayner as his parliamentary aid, featuring work and comment by artists as diverse as Cornelia Parker, John Smith, Haroon Mirza, Jeremy Deller and Jessica Voorsanger. With original music by Flameproof Moth, the Ken Ardley Playboys and The F***s.

A kaleidoscopic mix of performance, artist interviews and imagined scenes, Art Party is written and directed by Tim Newton & Bob and Roberta Smith. Produced by Tim Newton & Bob and Roberta Smith with Stuart Cameron at Crescent Arts and distributed by Cornerhouse Artist Film.

The film is a 12A and the running time is 80 mins. Check out the Cornerhouse website to see the other Galleries taking part.

Visit our website for all Glynn Vivian Offsite information. All events are free.

Discover Swansea logo Friends of the Glynn Vivian Art Gallery logo
Arts Council of Wales logo Welsh Assembly Government logo Tate Plus logo Heritage Lottery Fund Logo City and County of Swansea logo