That is quite a mouthful, Gwyrosydd Biennial Arts, and not easy for the non-Welsh speaker to pronounce. I want to record or set down this project which lasted for six years or more because it was and is for me still a wonderful “model” education project.
It’s beginning and final publication was made possible by the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation. It came from a discussion with Sally Truman, then a teacher with responsibility for Art at what was then Gwyrosydd Junior School, Treboeth, Swansea, Wales. The school was in its 40th year and this event was to be part of its celebration. It eventually merged with its neighbouring Infant school to become Gwyrosydd Primary School. Sally wanted sustained, significant input from art in the school, with a celebratory, sharing aspect as an outcome. I told her, as an “off the cuff“ remark, that, as an artist working in education, I would love to find a “home” in a school. To experience the effects of sustained arts input. That meeting was the starting point for six years of arts input into one Primary school”.
A writer and a visual artist working with the pupils and offering free adult workshops to the community.
A “Biennial Artist”. An artist living and working in Wales, whose work was celebrated by exhibition in either the school or the local Public Hall.
A celebratory exhibition and performance featuring the work of children and adults.
Poetry readings by professional and amateur writers in a school or community venue.
A Biennial Newspaper free to the community containing information on the work produced and its participants.
An A3 information poster containing the programme offered by the Biennial and images produced by the pupils.
Those involved visited and utilised the educational facilities of the Glynn Vivian Art Gallery and Museum, Swansea, to experience the visual art first hand.
Participating Artists and Writers 1993-1999:
Artists: Keith Bayliss, Glenys Cour, Lynne Bebb, Tony Goble, William Brown.
Writers: Malcolm Parr, Peter Thabit-Jones.
The following extract is taken from the Foreword of the publication- Gwyrosydd Biennial Arts, A School and Community Project, edited by Keith Bayliss and Sally Truman. The foreword was written by Geraint Williams former Head Teacher Gwyrosydd Junior School.
Gwyrosydd Junior School is situated in the old Welsh village of Treboeth; dating back to, probably, the 16th century. It has a host of inhabitants with deep cultural blood flowing through their veins. This culture has surfaced in the work of such people as the bard Daniel James (whose bardic name Gwyrosydd is commemorated in the name of the school); Evan Walters, a disciple of the painter Augustus John; and Willie Morgan, a local hymnwriter.
The quality of the work produced during our Biennial celebrations was superb, ranging from drawing, relief printing, sculpture, poetry, short-story, painting, collage, performance and display.
It will remain for me a significant experience and allowed me to see what can be produced, experienced and learned from such a venture. Below is a poem made following a sculpture workshop:
Hot Glue guns about,Lucy Griffiths Year 4
Sticking sculptures together,
Thinking about colours.
Mess in the classroom,
Powder paint on overalls,
Messy hand about.
Thinking very hard,
Mixing the paint so thickly.
Hoping it will work.