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Bridgend Community Education Entertainment South Wales

Bridgend town centre exhibits ‘diversity’ artwork

BRIDGEND town centre is set to become the stage of inspirational, original artwork created by art and design students from Bridgend College, as a result of a collaboration between the college and Bridgend County Borough Council.

Peppered throughout The Rhiw Shopping Centre, thought provoking artwork based on students’ interpretation of ‘diversity’ will be displayed on boards on vacant premises in a bid to celebrate differences, as well as to make the space inviting, interesting and inclusive.

Supported by the Regional Cohesion Grant, the opportunity was offered to the students by the council’s Community Safety Partnership team and the college presented the project as a competition, with the winners, including a first, second and third place, being selected to showcase their work in the town.

Manager of the Rhiw Shopping Centre, Rachel Bell, said: “We are so pleased to be part of this amazing project.  We believe that it will be well received by the community, make such a positive impact to the town centre, and help to assist in making vacant units look more attractive with such a positive message.”

Katie Kempson, who secured first place in the competition, intended her photographic image to capture the essence of collaboration, as two dancers of different ethnicities unite in performance.

Katie said: “The image is simple yet powerful; it radiates warmth and closeness, emphasising not only diversity but also the strength found in working together harmoniously and supporting each other.”

Another winner, Amber Rowlands, explained how reflecting on her own disability inspired her work.  When considering her condition and how illness has changed her appearance, “I’m still me, I’m still Amber”, she said.  Judges, including former Council Leader, Huw David, Cllr Neelo Farr and Cllr Freya Bletsoe, Mayor of Bridgend Town, all “loved the personal story to the work and the diversity being shown in the same person.”

Jessica Lancaster, Creative Arts and Education Manager at the college, said: “We are so overwhelmed by the greatness of the learners’ artwork in this project. The depth of talent and creativity displayed by these young artists is truly inspiring. This collaboration is not just a showcase of their incredible work, but a celebration of their potential and the bright future of art and design in our community.”

Councillor Neelo Farr, Cabinet Member for Regeneration, Economic Development and Housing, said: “What a fantastic project on so many levels!  To have the artistic input of students from Bridgend College permeating the town and elevating its cultural vibrancy is just wonderful.  What a genius idea from the Community Safety Partnership team! 

“The level of talent exhibited by the students is breathtaking.  It is also touching to see how some of the students have allowed their own vulnerability to reveal itself in creating their work.

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“I am sure that the display will become a talking point of visitors to the town, as well as promote inclusivity and the celebration of diversity in all its shapes and forms.”