The terms ‘Creative’ and ‘High Street’ do not go hand in hand in the popular imagination when considering the appeal of one of Swansea’s most down at heel zones. Suffering from long-term neglect and lack of regeneration it is the area to avoid late at night, the dismal gateway to an otherwise vibrant and cultural city that rail-travellers unfortunately build their first impressions upon. But this is unlikely to prevail given the extensive new urban regeneration project currently underway. Masterminded through the collaborative efforts of Swansea- based Coastal Housing Group and local creative enterprises, Swansea Creative Hub is at the centre of Swansea’s new Urban Village project. Its aims are to construct a space that is conducive to creativity of all kinds, offering the kind of ‘Flexible Space, Flexible Rent, Flexible Lease’, that is so necessary a part of the arts scene that it forms the basis of their tag-line.
On a personal level, quite frankly I’m a fan of anybody brave and visionary enough to tackle this oft critiqued part of the city. But the Swansea Creative Hub’s vision extends way beyond a simple and rather expensive regeneration project. With the well established Volcano Theatre Company and Music. Art. Dance. Swansea already on board and operating out of flexible leased spaces at the main 229 High Street location, and currently hosting one of the ‘Art across the City’ projects, the Hub appears to be rapidly growing from strength to strength. Add to this its proximity to the recently opened South Wales Evening Post Theatre next door, and you quickly get a sense of the scope of this exciting new venture, the ethos of which is firmly located around nurturing, facilitating, and promoting the creative arts in Swansea. In the words of co-founder Huw Williams it’s ’a space that’s minimal, flexible and allows for ease of communication’, stressing the exciting possibilities for artistic coalescence and collaboration that exist within such an art-centric setting. It’s not just about the High Street location either. Having already brought us Supersaurus art space on Orchard Street, the Coastal Housing Group in collaboration with Elysium Gallery, now intends to create some much needed studio spaces at the former Barons site, hence watch this space! So if you’re an artistic individual or group then go along and get involved, start a creative dialogue, and become part of this burgeoning new ‘creative cluster’ that’s set to make a vivid mark on Swansea’s arts scene.
Further Information on the Swansea Creative Hub can be found at http://swanseacreativehub.com, or alternatively contact Huw Williams directly on firstname.lastname@example.org.
Jess Hughes, Elysium Gallery Swansea.