Day 1 | Becoming Creative Wrexham


SPEAKER | Joe Marsh – Ty Pawb

During this session Joe introduced all the exciting plans for the renovated Peoples Market which is now going to be the home of Oriel Wrexham, they have merged together to become Ty Pawb.  Millions of pounds have been invested in this project to join the Arts & Markets together and promote a bigger cultural community. These are the notes & phone pics that i took throughout the talk.


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There will be 18 markets, food courts, cafes, live entertainment, gallery spaces and rentable spaces.




For the gallery spaces they will be planned up to 3 years in advance, but there will also be ‘Baggy Spaces’ and these will be areas which will be available for more current projects, they want to be able to cater for new projects and don’t have to go on a waiting list for years.

It hasn’t been easy because they have faced lots of public backlash in the beginning, people have expressed anxiety about it and struggled to see how the change was relevant.




To help the understanding of the project they have involved the community all along the way in decisions and help them embrace the new cultural market change.




A public consultation was held in Wrexham Museum to bring together the meaning and values of the project and develop it’s own name. The public was then able to vote and Ty Pawb (Everybody’s House) chosen.




They have been influenced by Mima – Middlesborough Institute of Modern Art and aim to be a tangible benefit to the wrexham community as well as something bigger.




Ty Pawb Statement:



Within Ty Pawb there will be opportunities for artists to display their work, for example on the WAL PAWB. This is a wall that is in between the arts and the markets within the building, commissioned artists will have their work displayed for 1 year at a time.


3 Part Program



Exhibitions / Education / Merchandise will all work in tandem together, lots of public projects, getting people involved and looking at issues within the community to raise awareness and put money back into the community.


Dydd Llun Pawb ( Everybody’s Monday)



This is a project they have been getting the community involved with, researching old stories about wrexham …there is one about the old Lego Factory, apparently there is tons of Lego buried underneath the building!

Out of all the stories they have collected, the public have been allowed to choose the best 6 and then 6 artists have been commissioned to create souvenirs. This is a good example of how the 3 Part Program is going to work because the souvenirs will end up in the shop available to buy.



I enjoyed this informative talk by Joe, it’s really exciting for the community as well as all local artists to have something like this which will help grow the cultural development in wrexham. Making the Arts more accessible for everyone and introducing it in an innovative way. I’ll be looking forward to attending the opening day with my family.

**All Images in this blog were taken during this seminar with Joe Marsh – Ty Pawb**

Day 1 | A Painter’s Life


SPEAKER | Shani Rhys James MBE


This talk was about her life as a painter and how her experiences along the way have become intertwined into her work, these are my notes and quotes from her talk.


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Shani was born in Australia but moved to the UK when she was young with her Australian Father and Welsh Mother.

She spent her years as a student at the Loughborough College of Art and Design and then moved onto to ST Martins School Of Art in London for her Degree.  These were her experimenting years and she never actually thought that her art was going to be something that would make her money.

“What is it that makes us want to create?”

She discussed that paintings have been found done on Cave Walls by Neanderthals so there has always been the want for us as beings to create.

Although Rhys James’ early work was mainly experimental and finding her way, once she met her partner and had children it changed. Finding that living in London with 2 young children was having an adverse affect on them they decided to move to Wales. There they bought a derelict house which her husband worked on whilst she looked after her children and painted around them. She explained how her own childhood was disrupted, because of the life of her mother being an actress and travelling to do shows she was often left with a few pounds to feed and look after herself for the day.




So this had an impact on her to the point that she didn’t want to miss any of her children’s early years and enjoy them.

“Life is Art & Art is Life”

To live a life as an artist you have to be single-minded, as in you have to know what you want to do, keep it in the forefront of your mind and keep doing it, even though you’re surrounded by other life consuming things like your family and children etc.




Over the years she has been applied to get into the John Moores Gallery since 1983 and keeps getting rejected but that won’t stop her trying.

‘There is no point being an egocentric Artist, that’s not relevant… as an artist you just have to work hard’ And do it in and around your life, taking inspiration as you go. It can be hard as a mother because when it comes to spending money…. do you buy a new easel that you need or a new coat for your child? So the balance of being a self-employed artist & a mother can be extremely challenging.




She explains how having her children was the most important thing to her, and this can be seen through her paintings in the way she features children and how they should be given priority within a family.




Loss and grief was channelled through her work like in this image below it was when her son left home, the grief she felt when she looked at his empty bed.




‘Grief turns into energy’

Judy Dench

Art can be amazing for anyone dealing with trauma, it’s a way of expression and release.




She also features a lot of women and feminist issues about women especially before the Russian Revolution where they were frustrated and confined to the home. Women didn’t have a voice and she looks at them breaking free from oppression and that women have the right to be heard.

Her advice as an artist is to keep your humanity! Tune into social, political, world & humanity issues to express your voice and be kind, thoughtful & empathetic.



I really enjoyed listening to her talk about her life and experiences which have impacted her life as a painter. Although she uses a different medium to myself it was interesting to see how her life as a mother and an artist has developed. This is something that is relevant to me and i found it comforting to hear her realistic experiences and hurdles along the way.

If I was to write keywords about her work they would be:

Red / Blood / White / Black / Isolation / Children / Serious / Bold / Isolated

Isolated, was one of the key words for me and I found it interesting that that’s where she feels comfortable to paint, she prefers isolation and i think that comes through in her work.

She is inspiring in the fact that she has continued to do what she loves and embraced her life through it and become an award-winning artist.

She came across as an honest, confident and experienced artist and delivered an entertaining talk that was a great start to our Creative Futures Week.


**All Images in this blog were taken during this seminar with Shani Rhys James MBE**