Opportunities for the people of Gwynedd to enjoy and participate in the arts on-line

The coronavirus has forced us all to adapt our lifestyles over the past weeks; all parts of society have been affected but our key workers are battling hard to keep us safe and healthy.

With the need for social distancing or self-isolation, the arts sector has been affected like everyone else, and arts centres and practitioners have been hit.
Theatres, galleries and cinemas have closed temporarily, artistic activities have come to a halt, and many freelance artists are now unemployed. It is a challenging period for the sector. Many organisations are applying for funding to support them and are looking for alternative ways of operating.
Councillor Gareth Thomas, Gwynedd Council Cabinet Member with responsibility for the arts, said: “In the middle of this strange and concerning situation, the arts are important for our health and well-being. They provide an opportunity to be observant, active, to learn new things and to connect, share and give with friends and family.”
Gwawr Wyn Roberts, Community Arts Development Officer, Gwynedd Council noted: “On the Creative Gwynedd website, we are sharing ideas, inspiration and suggestions of how people can achieve Five Ways to Well-being and the Arts to keep yourself mentally healthy during this difficult time, and further resources are also available on Pinterest boards here.
“Despite the challenges facing the arts sector, creativity, imagination and exciting ideas are leading to new ways of working and reaching people on-line and through social media.”
Dawns i Bawb are working hard to continue to offer activities that the people of Gwynedd can enjoy at home. Catherine Young, the company’s Artistic Director explained,
‘We have adapted our way of working and we are now holding dance activities on the web. Our Migldi Magldi scheme are offering Welsh dance and song sessions for young children,’ she went on to say.
‘We are also hoping to buy tablet devices for the care homes in an attempt to tackle social isolation through dance. We will be offering families an opportunity to keep in contact and dance together. Continuing with our work is critically important to us as a company, in the hope that it helps our communities during this difficult time’.
Canolfan Gerdd William Mathias - Music Centre is another company that is adapting its way of working.
According to Meinir Llwyd Roberts, the Director of the companyCompany Director: “In the middle of this challenging period, we are pleased that we’ve been able to transfer a number of our activities on-line and this has enabled us to keep in contact with our audience and reach new people.
“A number of our pupils of all ages now receive one-to-one lessons over Skype and a number of families have registered for our on-line Camau Cerdd provision for children aged 0-4 and 4-7 years. The tutors of our Sgwrs a ChânSong and a Chat project are also busy recording sessions from their homes and we e-mail a link to the new session every week to a number of adults. Apart from the one-to-one lessons, the activities are completely free of charge and anyone who is interested can learn more by sending an e-mail here
Y Frân Wen theatre company has also set themselves up on the web and are offering opportunities for young people to keep in contact, express themselves and co-create digitally.
“During a period of self-isolating, engagement is more important than ever to the health, welfare and creativity of our communities,” said Gethin Evans, Artistic Director of Frân Wen.
“It has been a pure pleasure to work with more young people than ever over the past weeks - the energy, positivity and enthusiasm has been infectious.
“We are very proud of the variety of our current programmes and the range of incredible people who are a part of them. Following the success of last year’s programme, we are currently recruiting for the Llwybrau Llachar project at present, which is a special creative development programme for young people with additional needs. As part of the development of our new home in Bangor, Nythu drama writing workshops are continuing with a community of older people in the city.
“120960 is Cwmni Ifanc Frân Wen’s invention and their first attempt at creating a digital theatre. With over 35 young people in the area involved with the project, the live digital event will provide a stage to the creative response of the young people to life in the new Wales. The 120960 process commenced one minute after the first cases of coronavirus were confirmed in Wuhan, China, and the production is investigating the world over the next 120960 minutes.”
Gwydion Outram, 16, from Caernarfon, who is a member of the youth company, said: “Being involved with 120960 is an opportunity for us to speak together as young people, and I believe that this will help us all as we are able to communicate and share ideas. The production is an opportunity for us to share our views on this exceptional situation of self-isolating.”
Visual arts also play their part during the pandemic and Mari Gwent, one of Gwynedd’s community artists, who held a Bridging the Generations arts scheme with the residents of Penygroes, Dyffryn Nantlle, before the virus struck, will be displaying a pieces of art work from the scheme at Ysbyty Enfys, Bangor. Although the workshops in Penygroes have been postponed, it has been lovely to contribute art work from the project to the new hospital to help create a welcoming and homely environment for the COVID-19 patients of Gwynedd.
If you wish to learn more about the arts opportunities that are available to enjoy and participate in, go to the opportunities section of this website and follow us on Facebook (Gwynedd Greadigol-Creative Gwynedd) and Twitter (@CelfGwyneddArts). If you have information about an arts scheme or creative work that you would like us to share on your behalf, e-mail Creative Gwynedd here or phone 01286 679721.

To learn more about the projects of Frân Wen, Canolfan Gerdd William Mathias - Music Centre and Dawns i Bawb, click on the links below

Fran Wen

Dawns i Bawb