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Garden launches artistic competition

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THE NATIONAL BOTANIC GARDEN OF WALES will be hosting its own ‘Watercolour Challenge’ this summer.

Garden launches artistic competition

Garden launches artistic competition

The celebration will coincide with the biggest project in the Garden’s history, a £6.7 million restoration project that aims to restore the site to its former glory. With falls, cascades, lakes and weirs, the Gardens will resemble the way the site looked 2 centuries ago.

The competition marks 200 years since Thomas Hornor was commissioned by Sir William Paxton of Middleton in Llanarthe to paint “one of the finest water parks in Britain.” The National Botanic Gardens are now situated in this place.

To celebrate the anniversary, the Garden is challenging artists from across the country to attend the attraction and capture the beauty of it.

The best of the artworks will feature in an exhibition in the Garden’s gallery. There will be prizes in each of the three categories; the winner of the under 12s contest will receive £250, the winner in the 12-18 category will win £500 and the winner of the adult’s competition will take home £1,250.

“The 5 year plan to restore our Regency landscape began in January,” said organiser Rob Thomas, “and the main source material for the project in the Hornor watercolour collection. So it is very fitting that, two centuries after Hornor created his brilliant body of work, we try and capture what we have here today.”

The competition, however, is not restricted to watercolours only. All mediums are welcome. Thomas commented that it will “in time, prove as compelling a record of the estate as Thomas Hornor created all those years ago.”

The ‘Watercolour Challenge’ runs from May 23 to August 15. All ages and abilities are welcome, and half price entry is available for all entrants. Entries from a range of age categories will be displayed in the Garden’s gallery in the Autumn.

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The Prince’s Foundation’s 7 for 70 project in Ceredigion gathers speed

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Representatives of a charity behind a new centre to celebrate Welsh heritage, craft and culture have been encouraged by the progress made at the sacred site in Ceredigion.

The conversion of The Beudy ‒ pronounced “bay-dee”, meaning a cowshed ‒ at Strata Florida will mark the completion of the first phase of a project to restore the farmhouse and farm buildings owned by the Strata Florida Trust and supported by The Prince’s Foundation. The completed conversion will be officially opened later this year.

The wider project at Strata Florida is one of seven across the UK undertaken by The Prince’s Foundation to coincide with The Prince’s 70th birthday in 2018 in a campaign known as 7 for 70. Spearheaded by communities and supported by The Prince’s Foundation, the seven projects focus on landmark buildings and sites, whether neglected, in need of a new use, or requiring construction.

Mark Webb, fundraising and development manager for The Prince’s Foundation, visited Strata Florida, 16 miles south-east of Aberystwyth, alongside Peter Mojsa, representing the grant-giving charity Allchurches Trust, and was heartened by the impressive conversion work completed so far.

He said: “We share a vision with the Ceredigion community whereby Strata Florida regains its place as a foremost cultural heritage site in Wales, and the progress being made in the conversion of The Beudy is really encouraging.

“We hope to generate a renewed awareness of the significance of the site and establish it as a symbol of celebration of Welsh heritage, language and culture. Strata Florida Trust is aiming to create opportunities for a wide range of residential educational activities associated with the legacy of the site, its buildings, landscape and rural context.”

The Strata Florida Archaeology Field School is being run in partnership with Breaking Ground Heritage, an organisation that specialises in promoting wellbeing and rehabilitation through heritage-based activities, specifically to individuals with severe physical and psychological challenges. The school forms part of a three-year pilot project that has received £177,400 in grant funding from Allchurches Trust and is designed to encourage people to consider and pursue careers in archaeology.

Kim Hitch, director of projects for The Prince’s Foundation, said: “The Prince’s Foundation is proud of its contribution in preserving traditional skills, arts, and crafts, through its education and training programmes. In the same way that much of the training we offer helps to fill skills gaps and address the issue of shrinking workforces in certain industries, we hope that by supporting Strata Florida Trust run this archaeological field school, we can help address the dearth of new talent emerging in archaeology in the UK.”

Paul Playford, grants officer for Allchurches Trust, said: “We’re proud to support this exceptionally exciting project that is helping to halt the decline in practical archaeological opportunities and skills in the UK, breathing new life into this fascinating profession as well as enriching the local economy and protecting an important cultural site in Wales for future generations.

“We’re very much looking forward to seeing what treasures will be unearthed as the trenches open for a second summer and students and visitors discover the secrets of this ecclesiastical heritage gem, benefiting from the rich knowledge of the experts on-site and hopefully inspiring a love for archaeology and history that will last a lifetime.”

The Prince’s Foundation launched its 7 for 70 initiative to identify and undertake seven high-impact community regeneration projects throughout the United Kingdom. Drawing on more than 20 years of experience of heritage-led regeneration, project management, community engagement and architectural design, the charity, based at Dumfries House in Ayrshire, is working in partnership with local communities to support them in regeneration projects. The work also builds upon the successful community outreach work undertaken at Dumfries House – the restoration of nearby New Cumnock Town Hall in 2016 and the rebuilding of New Cumnock’s outdoor swimming pool in 2017. Both projects were completed in partnership with the local community in response to an appeal for assistance in saving these two much-loved local assets.

Successful 7 for 70 projects include The Duke of Rothesay Highland Games Pavilion, a Braemar-based showcase of Scotland’s rich history of traditional highland sports, and a summerhouse at the centre of a renovated walled garden at Hillsborough Castle in Northern Ireland. While projects are owned and operated by the local community, The Prince’s Foundation offers its fundraising, development and communications expertise to help identify funding options and deliver the capital phase. The Prince’s Foundation lends its wealth of expertise and knowledge in the heritage and built environment sectors, and in doing so to add the necessary value to ensure the projects’ successful completion.

The chief objective of The Prince’s Foundation is to create sustainable communities. The charity aims to achieve this by developing and managing places to visit, running a diverse programme of education and training for all ages with particular focus on traditional and heritage skills, and offering employment, most notably at its headquarters at Dumfries House in Ayrshire and in London. Its activity spans the world, with education programmes and placemaking initiatives in Europe, Africa, Asia, and North America.

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Wizardry night a success at Aberystwyth Library

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The fourth Harry Potter Book Night was held at Aberystwyth Library on Friday, 07 February.

After dark, it was a time for fans to celebrate the iconic series of books with events all around the World.

Ceredigion Library Service held the event at Aberystwyth Town Library, which was decorated with all things Harry Potter.

Emyr Lloyd and Delyth Huws, both Assistant Librarians organised the night. They were very pleased with the success and turnout. Emyr Lloyd said, “We enjoy putting on the Harry Potter Book night. The fourth one was no different with 86 children attending the free event and very positive feedback. We hope events such as these spark a joy of reading in the young and old.”

Three Owls from New Quay Birds of Prey came by and Luke the close-up magician entertained the audience. The children were also entertained with a reading from one of the books and also a crafts and activities area.

Follow the events of the Ceredigion Library Service on Facebook @llyfrgellceredigionlibrary. The next event will be a sale of stock on 22 February between 10am and 4pm at the Bandstand in Aberystwyth.

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Stage set for post-apocalyptic phenomenon

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On Monday, 2 March, Cwmni’r Frân Wen, in partnership with Galeri will bring the theatre adaptation of Manon Steffan Ros’ post-apocalyptic novel to Theatr Felinfach as part of its tour of Wales.

‘Llyfr Glas Nebo’ is a Welsh language literary phenomenon.

The novel has made an enormous impression since its publication in 2018. A week after winning the Prose Medal in the 2018 Cardiff National Eisteddfod, a reprint was being prepared. It swept the boards at last year’s Wales Book of the Year awards and has already been named as a set text for GCSE.

The novel follows the amazing story of Siôn, his mother Rowenna, and his younger sister, Dwynwen as they attempt to survive after a nuclear accident – a nightmare that had a devastating effect on the inhabitants of the village of Nebo and beyond.

Tara Bethan plays the mother, with Eben James playing her son, Sion. Tara said: “It’s a huge honour to play a part in adapting ‘Llyfr Glas Nebo’ for the stage – there’s no doubt that it’s one of the most exciting Welsh novels in recent years.”

As the dust settles after a nuclear apocalypse, Rowenna and her children Siôn and Dwynwen are facing a world where signs of life are quickly disappearing. Their story is recorded in a little blue book as the family tries to survive the devastating effects of the incident.

‘Llyfr Glas Nebo’ is an unflinching story about life, death and hope. You will laugh. You will cry. But above all, you will question how we live, love and care about the world around us. Frân Wen and Galeri are proud to bring Manon Steffan Ros’ beautifully harrowing novel to stage.

Tickets are selling fast. Contact the Box Office on 01570 470697 or go online to theatrfelinfach.cymru. Tickets are £12 for adults, £10 for OAPs and members and £8 for students, young people and children. Age Guidance is 12+.

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