Torfaen MP Nick Thomas-Symonds visited Llantarnam Grange Arts Centre on Monday 14th August to back Criw Celf.  Criw Celf is an Arts Council of Wales strategic national project being led in the South East region by Llantarnam Grange Arts Centre.  The project is designed to give children and young people an opportunity to develop their artistic skills, working outside school, alongside professional artists in different settings.  Criw Celf focuses on young people who have been identified by teachers as having a particular potential or talent.   

Mr Thomas-Symonds was given a tour by the Arts Centre’s Director, Hywel Pontin, who showed the local MP “Portal 2017,” featuring the work of this year’s top UK graduates in the applied arts. These artists stand in the traditions of their craft, but are at the cutting edge of applied art.  The exhibits included a very moving piece about the re-greening of the valleys following the disaster at Aberfan, focusing on the terrible loss of life together with the strength and dignity of the local community.  Mr Thomas-Symonds was also shown the “One Year On” exhibition, showcasing the work of graduates twelve months later, as they start to mature as artists. Mr Thomas-Symonds was also introduced to a group of children enjoying holiday activities, which are available at the Centre. 

Nick Thomas-Symonds MP said: “Llantarnam Grange Arts Centre is such an important part of our community here in Torfaen, and is providing leadership for the Crew Celf project for the whole South-East Wales region, developing our talented young artists.  It was also great to see such a wide range of works in the applied arts that were not only beautiful to look at, but were thought-provoking too.  Seeing the young people enjoying holiday activities was also a reminder of the transformative power of the arts.”  

Hywel Pontin said: “The work we undertake at the Arts Centre demonstrates the transformative effect the arts can have on people’s lives. Criw Celf is very important as it provides children and young people with an opportunity to develop their artistic skills outside of a school setting alongside professional artists in a gallery setting. In the same way that an orchestra or choir provides an opportunity for young musicians to join together to perform, Criw Celf offers an opportunity for aspiring young visual artists to spend time with their peers and professional artists developing their talent. Criw Celf introduces the young people to a rich and varied menu of artistic genres and opens their eyes to the breadth of career possibilities that art can lead to.”

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