Notes from Wales Issue 1: Autumn 2014 - Page 8

From our correspondent in... North Wales Alana Tyson, our north Wales correspondent, gives us the low-down on the region The majority of people I meet in north Wales are here by choice, because they love it; and though it is spread over a large geographical area, the art community is quite intimate. When I sat down and wrote out the list of artists, events, organisations and venues I wanted to mention, I was really pleased to realise that I might easily exceed my word count. Places, spaces and organisations A fairly pervasive north Wales complaint is that there is so much more going on in south Wales with its Cardiff hub and (alleged) increased funding. I don’t feel this grievance holds much traction now. Artists in north Wales are organising themselves and studio groups are a great example. In just the past few years, Stiwdio Studio (Colwyn Bay), iard (Caernarfon), C.A.S.C (Llandudno), Ladder Store Studios (Llandudno) and TOGYG (Bangor) have all formed, offering studio spaces and in some instances exhibition and project space as well. In Wrexham, PrawN, the Programme of Resources for Artists in Wales (North), has declared itself ‘the little shrimpy sibling of g39’s WARP’. It aims to work as ‘a professional development tool for artists at all stages of their career’. Oriel Wrexham is also set to move to larger premises and is holding discussions about the development of a creative hub in the town. Existing institutions are expanding in the west with Pontio, Bangor University’s Arts and Innovation Centre, due to open this autumn and Bangor Museum and Art Gallery moving to the city’s Bishop’s Palace. The existing institutional hubs of Ruthin Craft Centre and Mostyn provide anchors in the community with world-class exhibtions and events. I always appreciate the fact that they bring exciting international art to North Wales in addition to showing Welsh artists. The new season at Mostyn will open on 14 November 2014 and includes a show by Cardiff-based Laura Reeves. I feel that artist-led centres are a really vital part of the artistic community. Big institutions often programme years in advance, whereas smaller centres are able to be so much more flexible and respond quickly to the needs of the community and local artists. Bocs Celf is a fantastic multi-purpose, artist-led centre in Caernarfon. Dimitri Rastoropov, the Arts Centre Coordinator, described it as ‘a cooperative, contemporary and experimental art hub that promotes and nurtures young and emerging artists’. Bocs has a regular exhibition schedule featuring both local and international artists and they really put a lot of effort into invigorating the community. Profiled I moved to north Wales from Canada over six years ago – not a place I ever expected to live. But then, I suppose that’s what happens when you marry a Welshman! To be honest, I found the first couple of years difficult between the sudden culture shock and not knowing anyone. I didn’t really feel at home until I gradually got more involved in the art community here in nort