Young people from around Wrexham are being recruited to join a new Youth Advisory Board (YAB) at Tŷ Pawb.
The YAB will work closely with the Tŷ Pawb team to help ensure a that a more diverse range of local young voices can be represented in the planning and development of future exhibitions and activities.
The YAB will play a key role in supporting Wrexham’s multi-award winning arts, markets and community hub to engage with wider audiences, both online and for its activities in the building.
Introducing our new Creative Producer
The YAB is being recruited by our new freelance Creative Producer, Yasmin Begum (pictured), who will work with the group initially on evaluation of the Tŷ Pawb Open exhibition.
The group will go on to take part in a series of workshops led by artist Harold Offeh; this will be an opportunity to explore the group’s aspirations for Tŷ Pawb and its future programme, and for themselves as local citizens.
Harold Offeh (pictured) is an artist working in a range of media including performance, video, photography, learning and social arts practice. He previously offered mentoring at Tŷ Pawb as part of Wales in Venice 2019.
Yasmin Begum is a writer, researcher and creative practitioner from Cardiff. She has worked with organisations including Film Hub Wales and is a former editor of youth-led magazine The Sprout.
“We’ll be taking an active role in the planning and evaluating of Tŷ Pawb’s arts programme”
Yasmin said: “I’m really excited to be taking on this role with Tŷ Pawb. Over the last few weeks I’ve been working with the team and with partner agencies to identify young people with an interest in the arts who would like to participate and we’ve started to put together a really strong team of diverse local young voices.
“We aim to work with young people to broaden skills and boost confidence, providing unique opportunities. I’m especially interested and thrilled to be working as a Creative Producer on this project because I know, first-hand, how important and life changing initiatives like this can be, especially having been a beneficiary of projects like this historically as a young person.
“We’ll be taking an active role in the planning and evaluating of Tŷ Pawb’s arts programme, working in conjunction with local young people in and around the Wrexham area. This will include exhibitions and activities that take place in the building as well as the new digital and outreach strategy to engage with youth groups.
“There are so many exciting exhibitions and projects in the pipeline for the coming year. We are all really looking forward to getting stuck in, starting with our workshops working with Harold Offeh, a multimedia artist and educator. ”
Respond and Reimagine
The Youth Advisory Board project has been made possible thanks to a grant provided to Tŷ Pawb by Art Fund as part of the Respond and Reimagine project.
The grants aim to help museums, galleries and cultural organisations respond to immediate challenges connected to the Covid-19 crisis, and offer support to adapt and reimagine ways of working for the future.
As well as the new Youth Advisory Board, the grant has also funded a brand new doorway into Tŷ Pawb’s main gallery. This allows visitors to enter the gallery directly from the market hall, making the exhibitions more visible and accessible to the public. It has also enabled a one way system to be put in place in the gallery, making it easier for visitors to socially distance.
A ‘fantastic’ achievement
Cllr Hugh Jones, Wrexham County Borough Council’s Lead Member for Communities, Partnerships, Public Protection and Community Safety, said: “The Tŷ Pawb team must be commended for their achievement in successfully securing this hugely valuable Art Fund grant. Less than 18% of the bids were successful which shows the strength of the bid Tŷ Pawb put forward and the exceptional work the team have put in to developing this innovative project.
“The Youth Advisory Board will help us to take a fresh approach as we plan our programme of exhibitions and activities in the post-Covid world. This will include prioritising our engagement with broader audiences, supporting our commitments to the Well Being of Future Generations Act and ensuring Tŷ Pawb can be welcoming and accessible for everyone.”
Art Fund’s Respond and Reimagine grants offer flexible and responsive funding to help museums adapt to the challenges of the Covid-19 crisis and reimagine future ways of working.
The UK’s museums provide inspiration, joy and education, enriching lives and bringing communities closer together, but the impact of Covid-19 has been catastrophic for many. In the last six months,
Together for Museums – an urgent appeal from Art Fund
Art Fund received applications totalling over 16.9m from 451 organisations for its £2.25m Respond and Reimagine funding, which is now exhausted. But with six in ten (60%) museums Art Fund recently surveyed worried about their survival, and 92% of museums saying they need to ‘adapt and innovate’, the charity has launched an urgent new public fundraising appeal: Together for Museums. It aims to raise £1 million to help more museums adapt to today’s challenges and evolve.
Art Fund is appealing to the public to make donations of any size. From just £25, unique objects and artworks are available as rewards, donated by leading artists including Lubaina Himid, Anish Kapoor, Michael Landy, Melanie Manchot and David Shrigley.
Image: Yasmin Begum and Harold Offeh (Harold photo credit: Chris O’Brien)
Introduction by Peter Hooper
One of the first stories submitted to the Creative Folktales assignment that I’m currently delivering for Tŷ Pawb in Wrexham was a fabulous fairy tale about Snowy, a little Syrian hamster.
I must admit that when Emma Ford produced a series of inspiring illustrations for the assignment, I did hope that her duelling hamsters drawing would generate some interest from pet owners. And it has!
Snowy is a real-life hamster and Polly, the story’s author, is the mother of Isaac and Seren, Snowy’s owners. Isaac has produced a wonderful drawing, which as you can see shows Snowy, a large owl (oh no!) and Chirk Castle.
The story itself is a lovely piece of writing and very moving.
In Polly’s words: “Prohibited from visiting family in Chirk during Lockdown, I’ve been suffering the Hiraeth blues and found myself following the International Eisteddfod page on Facebook, to feel more connected to
folk in the area. I loved reading your very inspiring Creative Folktales brief that was posted there. When it suggested a tale may be written about the adventures of a pet hamster, I just knew I had to give it a go, as we
welcomed Snowy to our household during Lockdown.”
Polly was bought up in Wrexham county as a child but now lives in the West Midlands. In the assignment’s worksheet I do mention Chirk Castle as a possible location for folk tales and fairy stories – and (I love this bit) because Polly used to live in Chirk and as a school girl had a Saturday job
in Chirk Castle’s tearooms she chose to make the castle a key part of her story. I don’t want to give too much of the plot line away, but the key elements are in Isaac’s drawing.
As she says above, Polly hasn’t been able to see much of her mum recently due to lockdowns on either side of the border, so she sent her a copy of her fairy tale in the post. The next day, late in the afternoon, her mum messaged her to say she had brightened her spirits by going for a walk with Polly’s dad and when she got home a gold envelope was on the mat containing the story.
She read it and it brought tears to her eyes. And by a wonderful coincidence she had just been walking in Chirk Castle woods that morning!
How Snowy Found Home – by Polly Caley
A time long ago, a village lay snugly in their beds, dreaming – all, that is, except one little one, who sat awake and alone. Her tiny voice could be heard singing up at the moon as she wondered. How would she ever find her way back home to the mountain? How would she even escape from her cage?
Just then, a gentle breeze blew apart the clouds and the full gaze of the moon shone in through the cottage window. The Welsh dresser standing in the corner became bathed in light. Snowy peeped across at it through her bars. There on the dresser’s shelf, sat the framed picture she so loved to stare at.
In the photograph stood the old woman, with rosy cheeks, wearing a green woollen hat, smiling triumphantly. “Can you believe it? I conquered Snowdon!” the woman would say to Snowy, whenever she picked up the picture to dust the frame.
In the picture, the sky looked huge – white, grey and blue, without limit. And beyond the rocky summit where the old woman stood, there was a whole range of rugged peaks. That was the most beautiful thing Snowy had ever seen and she just knew it must be where she came from. Why else would the old woman have named her Snowy?
With a restless heart, she leapt on to her hamster wheel and began to run and run. Jumping down, she danced her way up and down the small ramp, which partitioned the two platforms of her cage. Too excited by the view of Snowdon, she could barely stop to eat her seeds and pellets – her belly was simply filled with a longing for home.
Eventually, the moon faded. Snowy yawned and crawled into her little blue house, pulling fleecy bedding all around her. In her cosy cocoon, she stuffed her head with visions of the mountain.
The next night, Snowy heard the old woman open the cage and drop in a piece of hazelnut. Then there was a rarely heard ringing sound. It seemed to call the woman away into another room, and then the sound of the woman speaking to someone could be heard.
Poking her head out of her small house, Snowy realised the door at the top of the cage had been left wide open. This was her big chance!
She looked up at the moon to summon courage and began to sing the strange little song to herself that she seemed to have always known. Snowy thought the strange lyrics she squeaked would reverberate against the distant mountainside – the echo calling her home.
Snowy managed to clamber up on to her roof and heave herself out of the top of the cage. With a muffled thud, she deftly plopped down on to the slate floor. Watchful of the sleeping moggy, she frantically scurried towards the flap in the door, which was how the cat always came and went. Her poor head throbbed after running head-long into the flap. It didn’t budge! The cat twitched. Snowy paused. Thankfully, the cat slept on.
Summoning all the might of the mountain warrior Snowy believed she was, she pressed her front paws up against the flap and firmly gave it one final push. To her amazement, she found herself tumbling forwards and into the outside world.
Outdoors it was colder, damper. A strong smell of wood chip filled the air – like the chippings the woman layered in the cage for Snowy to burrow in. Her thoughts were quickly disturbed by the sight of huge plumes of smoke, billowing up into the night sky, just above the nearby tree-line. Perhaps they came from the wood-cutter’s chimney. But the sight made Snowy quake.
She recalled the image of the red dragon, which featured on the photo-frame back in the cottage. Perhaps the smoke plumes come from the giant nostrils of the fiery dragon who guards Snowdon, she thought. Even her whiskers began to quiver. She gulped and really hoped the dragon was sleeping as soundly as the cat.
Just then, a cool wind whipped up. A new, sweet smell drew her to venture further along the lane. When the pathway forked into two directions, she followed her nose and turned left.
Sniff, sniff – sure enough, it led her past the chocolate-maker’s place. She recognised the purple signage was the same she had seen before. It was on the packet that the old woman had been nibbling from that night. With regret, she remembered she’d left behind the whole nut she’d been given.
Wide-eyed Snowy ran on and on, as fast as her little legs could carry her. Her beating heart was her compass and the moon was her only friend. An occasional set of yellow eyes, peering at her from the hedgerows, caused her to keep running without pause.
There was a hump in the road ahead. As she soldiered on up its incline, the whole ground suddenly began to shake beneath her paws.
An almighty, deafening rumble ripped through the air to hit her ears. She feared that the dragon had finally awoken!
Then she realised the sound actually came from an enormous metal snake, which was passing right beneath the road. Through gaps in the roadside fence, she glimpsed the locomotive rattle on by, along its rails, hurtling onwards into the night to its destination.
Snowy allowed herself to catch her breath and then kept going.
The ground became muddier and muddier and she found herself scrambling down a bank. The air was damper than ever now and she noticed she’d drawn close to the edge of some water. Dead leaves and debris slowly drifted by on the water’s surface. Its relative stillness made Snowy feel uneasy and all around her darkness grew.
She realised she had entered some kind of cave. This must be the entrance to Snowdon, she heartened. But as she cautiously pressed onwards, she became more and more terrified.
All at once, there were quickening footsteps coming up behind her. Snowy froze.
The moonlit exit at the end of the tunnel seemed so far away, she wasn’t convinced she could make it out to the other side. Closing her eyes tightly, she pressed herself into a ball, pushing up against the cold, wet stone of the wall.
Just then, a fat rat brushed past her and laughed with a sneer as it ran on by. Uncurling herself with relief, she swiftly followed in its footsteps.
To her astonishment, she eventually emerged from the tunnel. The rat was nowhere to be seen. So glad to see the moon fully again, she allowed herself a moment to sing her Welsh home-going song. Gazing up, she wondered if Snowdon was now very near.
Clouding her vision was a winged creature, swooping down at her. Snowy’s whole short life flashed before her and she covered her eyes with her paws, ready to meet Death.
But she felt no pain. She smelled feathers. She dared to open her eyes. Towering over her, she peered up into the creature’s two large piercing eyes.
“You are not a field mouse. You are not on my usual dinner menu,” said the creature, rather curtly.
“No …I’m, um, I’m Snowy,” Snowy squeaked timidly in reply.
“And I’m Owl,” said the owl, with an air of authority, “And I believe you were singing in Arabic.”
“Not at all,” said Snowy, puzzled. “I’m making my way home to Snowdon – the mountain that gave me my name – and I think that the song must be Welsh.”
Unblinking, Owl glared at Snowy. “Don’t be ridiculous, you’re a Syrian hamster and that song is from a land that is far, far away, called Syria.”
This bird seemed all-knowing and Snowy slumped down into the mud, now feeling sadly confused. She suddenly felt very lost indeed and more alone than ever.
“You say your name is Snowy? You live with the old woman in the cottage, don’t you? You’re not named after Snowdon and we are nowhere near it right now.”
“How do you know any of this?” Snowy asked, shocked.
“I am Owl,” said Owl, unflinching.
Owl quickly spread open his enormous wing span and grabbed Snowy in his talons. For a moment, Snowy wondered if she’d be eaten after all. The ground was becoming more distant and she realised they were flying.
“I will show you where your name comes from,” said Owl, clutching Snowy with great care.
Over the waterway they flew. Over trees and fields, where Owl pointed out the small shadowy outlines of resting sheep.
Soon they came to a large stone structure, a thousand times bigger than the cottage. A flag with a red dragon on it flapped from its high turrets. Owl informed Snowy that this was an ancient castle. Snowy assumed it must be the home of the dragon and was very glad to be under Owl’s protection.
But they didn’t land at the castle. Instead, they flew down into the woodland that nestled in its grounds. Owl carefully released Snowy on to the frosty soil. The chill air nipped at her nose as she took in her surroundings. All around them on the forest floor were crowds of nodding white flowers. Their heads seem to be bowing in reverence, as if recognising Snowy as someone special.
Owl explained that this woodland is where the old woman walks when she’s feeling sad and lonely, missing her family that are no longer around her. It is her favourite place and always lifts her spirits. And it particularly warms her heart at this time of year, when the Snowdrops all appear.
“And that is why you got your name, Snowy. It’s because you bring her cheer and comfort, just like these wonderful flowers.”
Just then Snowy noticed her own heart had grown warm and it felt as though her whole chest may glow. It was like her internal compass telling her she had arrived.
“Snowy, your Syrian ancestors probably came over with one of the choirs or dancing troupes that visit this area once each year for a magical festival. It’s called the Eisteddfod. This is the Borough of Wrexham, which gives a warm welcome to all.”
“The Burrow of Wrexham,” Snowy said softly to herself, realising that home is wherever you are loved. All at once, she realised she wanted to be back with the old woman in the cottage.
Without having to say a word, Owl had already snatched her up and they were flying back over the tree-tops. Back over the fields and roof-tops they flew and they were soon back at the cottage.
Silently, Owl swooped down, expertly depositing Snowy on the ledge of the open window; then he was gone again, silhouetted momentarily against the moonshine.
In crept Snowy. The cat stirred briefly, only to continue its long nap. Climbing back into her cage, Snowy took one more look at the fading moon, before pulling her fleecy bedding up around her in her little blue house and peacefully settling herself to sleep. There was the trace of a tiny smile beneath her whiskers as she rested safely at home.
And of course, she and the old woman lived happily ever after.
- Saturday 28th November – from 10am
- Showcasing unique products and handmade gifts by local makers via our instagram stories – purchase directly from the seller!
How to take part
Apply for your virtual stall:
1. Email Morgan.Thomas@wrexham.gov.uk to register your interest by Friday 20th November at the latest – please include some information about yourself and your products, as well any relevant links.
NOTE: to be eligible for one of our virtual stalls you must have an Instagram channel and be familiar with posting stories. Customers must have a way to purchase your products online, so having your own website or online shop such as Etsy is required.
Any items sold at the fair must arrive to the buyer in time for Christmas.
Our Virtual Market is specifically for makers of handmade products such as ceramics, jewellery, clothing, prints and more.
We expect to have space for a maximum of 15 traders and slots are allocated on a first-come, first-serve basis. The market will be curated to create a balanced mix, so if we have a lot of traders wanting to sell one thing, we may have to be selective.
2. We will be in touch to confirm your virtual stall. There will also be an opportunity to ask any questions ahead of the event by arranging a Zoom or telephone call with the event organiser. As this is our first event of this type, we are also keen to hear about any ideas you may have for running a successful Virtual Market!
3. We will showcase each maker on our Instagram channel in the days leading up to the event. We would love a photo of yourself, a short bio and a few images of your products to do this.
Market Day – get ready to sell!
1. We will share up to 5 stories per stallholder onto our Instagram story.
2. Stallholders are invited to start tagging us in their stories from 8am on Market Day and we will re-share stories for 3 hours from 10am until 1pm. All stories will be left on our story for the full 24-hour period.
3. Sorry, any stories shared after 1pm won’t be featured.
4. Please remember to tag @typawb and select it in the list of names that come up so that we can re-share the story. Remember to also tag your own Instagram channel into the story so that buyers can access your channel.
5. Take time to create great looking stories – we aim for the Virtual Market to look as attractive as the displays you create in your real shop! Check out each other’s stories for ideas.
6. Please ensure that links to your online shop are in your Instagram bio so that buyers can easily purchase your products.
7. For those of you wanting to offer discounts, please state code TYPAWB in your story for buyers to quote.
If you have any questions are queries, please feel free to contact Morgan.Thomas@wrexham.gov.uk any time.
In April this year I was fortunate to be one of the seven creative artists selected by Tŷ Pawb to deliver a Creative Assignment, as part of their lockdown-inspired Arts at Home programme.
Together with the other six creative assignments we make up a wonderfully eclectic mix: design and make a book; make a video; do some performance art; make a collage; make a den; and manufacture and carve soap.
My project is to make a story (which you could combine with making a book, collage or video), and like the others it is all about encouraging and inspiring people to be creative in their own right – in my case, getting people to write in their own words (or draw) about what they love most about being outdoors and active.
The heart of my assignment – Creative Folktales – is to provide guidance, some potential sources of inspiration, and a story framework so that children, families, indeed people of any age can create a new folk tale, set in or around Wrexham.
The launch date for my assignment was originally going to be sometime in May or June, but on 21st June fate stepped in.
The date will always stick in my mind – this year it was both Father’s Day and Midsummer’s Day. At 6.30am I was outside getting ready to take our dogs out for their morning walk when I suffered a major stroke, which could have easily become a catastrophic stroke if the dogs hadn’t raised the alarm, waking my wife up. She immediately dialled 999.
By 9.30am I was in the operating theatre at the Royal Stoke Hospital in Stoke-on-Trent having emergency surgery to remove a large blood clot which had cut off the blood supply to the whole of the left-hand side of my brain. The operation was 100% successful: by the following day I was back on my feet and practising walking up and down stairs, and later that same day I was discharged home. An incredibly lucky escape, thanks to the dogs, my wife and of course our wonderful NHS.
So here I am back in action, pretty much fully recovered apart from being a bit fragile emotionally – it’s not every day you come so close to death – and happily back at work in my day job as Innovation Manager at Wrexham Glyndwr University.
Colleagues at the University have been very supportive, as have Tŷ Pawb, who kindly postponed my creative assignment by a few months, but happily have stuck with me and Creative Folktales. It is hard to put into words just how much it means to me to be able to mark my recovery by delivering the assignment as planned. It’s not solely my project either – back in April when I was putting together my proposal for the assignment, I commissioned support from two local creatives: artist and illustrator Emma Ford; and renowned storyteller Fiona Collins.
Emma I knew from the University, where she was studying art at Regent Street, and she has produced some wonderful illustrations for your as yet unwritten folk tales: a Unicorn; an excitable gnome; a Warrior Princess; two duelling Hamsters (the hamsterteers?), and more. You can see more of Emma’s art and illustration at www.emmafordart.com. Fittingly, Emma signs her work with her initials, E.L.F.
Fiona has recorded a video of herself recounting a Wrexham-based legend set in the days of King Arthur’s court. Listening to Fiona speak is like listening to music, with the lovely lilt of her poetic delivery.
So, my assignment is now up and running. If you’ve got a story to tell which works well in a folk tale or fairy story format, we’d love to hear it and for it to be part of this latest Creative Assignment. I’ve certainly got my own fairy tale to write, which definitely ends “and he lived happily ever after”.
Our thanks to Peter for sharing his story with us. You can take part in Peter’s Creative Assignment, Creative Folktales, here.
Tŷ Pawb and some of the UK’s most iconic art galleries join forces to celebrate this year’s unheralded champions of the arts sector.
The unique online exhibition from The National Lottery will showcase 13 powerful and poignant portraits that have been captured by leading photographer Chris Floyd.
The collection celebrates the remarkable individuals across the UK who continue to work tirelessly through the pandemic to bring creativity, enjoyment and enrichment through the arts to people in new ways.
Exhibition partners include The National Portrait Gallery , The MAC Belfast, The British Film Institute, National Museum Wales, Summerhall (Edinburgh), IKON Gallery (Birmingham), Ruthin Crafts Centre and The Photographers’ Gallery (London).
To view the full collection visit https://www.lotterygoodcauses.org.uk/news/blog/category/championsart
Recent blog posts
- ‘This town has so much to offer.’ We welcome our first Maker Space artist Georgia Nielson
- Folklore, Welsh futurism, and escapism – Introducing a brand new exhibition curated by our Youth Advisory Board
- FREE training sessions for artists! Running creative workshops online. Limited spaces available…
- Market, Food Court and Car Park to reopen
- Freelance Opportunity – Print International Exhibition Coordinator