Swansea artists picture Michael Sheen

Welsh film star Michael Sheen has been handed a new role as the subject for more than 100 Swansea portraits.

The resulting 140-plus images of Port Talbot-raised Sheen went on show in GS Artists Gallery on High Street, Swansea.

Pictures were submitted from a range of exhibitors from schools, colleges, support groups and adult learning groups.

Organisers of the 9to90 Creative Community Exhibition were GS Artists working with the Fusion Programme, a Welsh Government-funded initiative managed in the city by Swansea Council’s cultural services team.

Robert Francis-Davies, the council’s cabinet member for investment, regeneration and tourism, said: “The Michael Sheen part of this wonderful community exhibition really captured the imagination of artists from right around Swansea, from a rich diversity of backgrounds.

“It was lovely of Michael to give his backing to the project – and his parents joined artists and supporters at a celebratory event. “I’m told they were fascinated by the portraits of their son!”

The actor, filming in America, tweeted: “Wish I could have been there for it. My mum and dad surrounded by over 140 images of me! The art was phenomenal across the board. Congratulations to everyone involved.”

The 9to90 Creative Community Exhibition is in its second year.

It offers everyone the chance to exhibit their work in an art gallery regardless of age, style and experience.

This year’s activity attracted 279 entries, including crafts, photography, painting and drawings, poetry and prose..

This year’s portrait category was dedicated to Sheen due to him being celebrated for his philanthropy in the South Wales arts scene and his support for the Homeless World Cup. 

Jane Simpson of GS Artists, said: “Fusion gave us the challenge of creating a project that could open the doors of our gallery to reach the wider community, and the 9to90 creative community concept was born!

An open submission show open to all, which was free to enter and was advertised widely.  We added categories to respond to interest such as prose & poetry. Portraits are a fantastic challenge for all, and especially if the subject is loved as much as Michael, I’m already being asked who’s next! 

Over the last few months the gallery has worked voluntarily with Fusion who’ve enabled us to take the idea to a wider community by funding free creative opportunities.  These workshops partnered with local artists and creatives and allowed more than 80 people, literally 9to90, to create works almost all of which were entered into the show. 

Our ongoing partnership is dedicated to supporting creativity and artistic opportunities for a diverse audience.”  

The exhibition ran from  December 7th to December 13th.

Supporters included Crisis Swansea, Cover to Cover, Dylan’s Book Bus, Cinema and Co, Sew Swansea, Coastal Housing, independent artists, Gower College, UWTSD, St Helen’s Primary School, Gowerton Primary School, St Thomas Community School, Ffynone House School and local councillors from Castle ward.

More info: www.9to90creativecommunity.com  

The 9to90 Gallery:

Rainworks: GS Community Art Collaboration with Cwmavon

GS Artists were collaborators with our landlords, Coastal Housing, on bringing what we termed, “Secret Street Art” to Wales.  We created a series of secret messages around the Ynys Lee Estate near Port Talbot, that only appear when it rains. Read on:

New artwork can only be seen when it rains

South Wales Evening Post 08/11/19

It’s not often people hope for it to rain, particularly during the half-term holidays but that’s exactly what happened recently during Wales’s first Rainworks art installation in Cwmavon.

Organised by Coastal Housing with project collaborators GS Artists, families living in Ynys Lee came together early in the week to design stencils around the theme of why Ynys Lee is such a great place to live.

With the support of professional artists, these stencils were used to treat the ground with Rainworks Invisible Spray producing Rainworks – secret works of art that can only be seen when it rains. The Rainworks concept, based around an environmentally-friendly spray, was invented in Seattle as a way to bring smiles to people’s faces even when it rains.

The installation in Cwmavon is the first time a Rainwork has been created in Wales.

Cayleigh Ward has lived at Ynys Lee for around 15 years and created a secret message encouraging people to ‘Be More Ynys Lee’. She added: “Ynys Lee’s awesome. Everybody loves Ynys Lee.

“There’s a big community up here. Everybody knows each other and everybody helps each other.”

The Rainworks installation was the brainwave of Coastal’s health and wellbeing manager Sarah Davies who read about Rainworks goal of giving people a reason to smile when it rains in its native Seattle.

She added: “Seattle is often nicknamed Rainy City, so the parallel to South Wales was obvious. I wondered how we could celebrate communities across rainy South Wales and approached people in Ynys Lee to be the first installation.

“At Coastal we’ve got a culture of innovation so it’s fitting that we’re doing the first installation in Wales.”

Jane Simpson of GS Artists devised the art workshops that helped local people turn their ideas into secret street art. She said: “‘We couldn’t have come to a better place, what lovely people that clearly love living at Ynys Lee And some very secretly creative people.”