A former music store in Swansea town center has been transformed into a new creative hub to help local artists and creative industries come together to learn skills that make the most of digital platforms.
Funded by the Swansea Council and Creative Wales – a Welsh Government initiative to promote the creative industries – the Swansea center is one of three such cultural centers in Wales.
Acting as a creative network that will help the professional development of those who get involved, the creative hub will support South West Wales as a whole.
Based on a pop-up idea to make the most of empty buildings, the first phase of the project, called Arts Arkade, is now based in the former Cranes music store in the city centre.
This space has been transformed and equipped with new tools to help artists collaborate and develop their work for digital and public platforms.
As well as the potential development of new content for installations such as the digital wraparound skin at Swansea Arena, work at the center could also lead to temporary works of art in new public spaces and events.
Content could also be created for a number of new screens and light fixtures forming part of the units being developed on Cupid Way – a new link between the town center and the Copr Bay area, including the new bridge over Oystermouth Road, Swansea Arena and the new Coastal Park.
Other phases and locations of creative hub projects will follow in the coming years, to provide artists and young people with the opportunity to come together, network and learn new skills that can provide creative and culture in the surrounding area.
The concept was devised by the Council’s Cultural Services team and Tunde Olatunji, a PhD student at Swansea University’s Computer Foundry. Mr. Olatunji will provide creative direction on a three-year research program on how digital spaces affect or support our cultural offering in the public domain.
Cllr Robert Francis-Davies, Cabinet Member of the Swansea Council for Investment, Regeneration and Tourism, said: “With so many digital platforms being developed in the city centre, this makes for a fantastic digital tapestry for local artists, Welsh creative industries and our young people.
“Arts Arkade will not only provide this talented community with an agile, high-quality space where they can collaborate, network, improve their digital skills and create, but it will also enable data collection and research into how audiences are responding to our new spaces, and digital artworks in the post-Covid world.
“Online masterclasses from digital art experts will be part of the activities there, part of a project that will eventually lead to a digital art experience from the station to the sea that best celebrates the rich heritage culture of Swansea.
“Arts Arkade will complement and join an already thriving program of cultural activities and events across the council’s other cultural venues, giving local people the opportunity to put Swansea at the forefront of arts innovation. digital.”
Dawn Bowden, Welsh Government Deputy Minister for Arts and Sport, said: “I’m really excited to be able to launch the new creative hub. This facility will help to stimulate creativity within Swansea and its proximity to the new arena can only contribute to this ambition.
“This project was one of three Creative Wales pilot projects looking at how the creative industries can support the regeneration of our city centre. There are many examples of how the creative industries can boost city center regeneration and I am very keen to see how this project will bring change to Swansea, so that we can share the lessons with other city centers of Wales.
“This installation will provide opportunities for local artists and creators to engage the community and reinvent the space. It’s also great to hear that this facility will help young people with a range of abilities and experiences to engage in creative learning. »
Linking to cultural programs at Swansea Council cultural venues such as the Dylan Thomas Center and Glynn Vivian Art Gallery, Arts Arkade will also draw on traditional and contemporary art forms, such as fine art, literature and dance – mixed with hip-hop, street art and breakdancing – to produce digital artwork and build a stronger profile for ‘Creative Swansea’ using apps, screens, events and a d traditional exhibition.
Arts Arkade is part of a larger temporary plan for the former St David’s Shopping Center site to create more dynamism there, pending its longer-term regeneration. The temporary plan also includes a pop-up park, lots of green space, and pop-up units for local food and beverage businesses.
Main image: (left to right): Tunde Olatunji (PhD student at Swansea University Computer Foundry), Dawn Bowden (Welsh Government Deputy Minister for Arts and Skills), Tracey McNulty (Head of Cultural Services to Swansea Council), Cllr Robert Francis -Davies (Cabinet Member of Swansea Council for Investment, Regeneration and Tourism). (Image: Swansea Council)