Between 2014-2018, the Town Council secured over £100,000 in grant funding from the Heritage Lottery and the Arts Council of Wales to restore the exterior of the building, develop the downstairs space to a professional arts centre standard and deliver a programme of activities and events for the local community.
The capital works included the refurbishment of the front elevation of the building by replacing the stone balustrades and preserving the stone work, repointing the rear and sides of the building to prevent water ingress, replacing the boiler, installing new CCTV and security systems, raising the ceiling and minimising the central pillars in the ground floor space and installing new theatrical lighting and sound systems.
During 2017 it became apparent that the workload required to manage a full arts programme at Carnegie House was not possible within the existing resource of the Council, therefore a decision was taken to set up a Service Level Agreement (SLA) with the Awen Cultural Trust, to manage all aspects of the professional arts programme. The programme included a vibrant array of Live Music, Children’s Theatre, Comedy, Poetry and Workshops. This SLA was in place until 31st March 2018. Further to a review of budgets and Council resource, a decision was taken not to renew the Awen Trust SLA. Co-ordination and management of the arts centre is now undertaken by Bridgend Town Council staff in-house.
Bridgend Town Council was awarded grant funding of over £28,000 to support activities at Carnegie House Arts Centre during 2018.
A grant from ‘Awards for All’ enabled the Town Council to provide free art workshops to engage families in creative activities. The grant funding contributed towards the cost of sessional workers, materials and marketing. The series of workshops titled ‘Krafty Kids’ ran from January 2018.
Additional funding from the Arts Council of Wales enabled the Town Council to offer an intergenerational celebratory arts project called New Roots that aimed to attract people of all ages to engage in high quality community arts events in Bridgend between February-November 2018, working closely with CF31 BID team and BCBC.
In 2018 with funding from Arts Council of Wales as part of New Roots grant, the Festival of Light event was relocated from Bridgend Town Centre to Newbridge Fields growing from 300 to 3000 in participant numbers. The project featured free lantern making, circus and Samba workshops in the local community, which went on to build into the Festival of Light event which featured a lantern parade, Samba band and amazing fire display show.
In 2019 leading on from the success of the New Roots Project, Bridgend Town Council secured funding of £21,070 from the Arts Council of Wales to run the Take pART project.
Take pART was a participatory art project aimed at children, young people and families in Bridgend. Throughout 2019 Bridgend Town Council commissioned three creative professionals to lead and deliver participatory arts activities across 3 artforms: Samba, Circus & Art. The activities were primarily based in Carnegie House but also involved outreach workshops and performances, as well as group visits to professional venues.
Take pArt formed the second phase of a grassroots approach to developing audiences for the arts by focusing on what people are interested in engaging with, along with a long-term vision for a vibrant and dynamic creative community in Bridgend that is in line with ACW’s ambitions in the INSPIRE strategy.
Benefiting the public
Take pART enabled us to embed young people and their families more fully into the way we programme and use the space in Carnegie House. The project sort to inspire with:
A regular opportunity to nurture their creativity and learn new skills
Increased confidence, self-esteem and communication
Feeling more included in arts and culture
Sense of community from being part of a regular creative group
In June 2019 Bridgend Town Council applied for a grant from the Millennium Stadium Charitable Trust Round 33 Art or Environment Grant Applications to purchase a Printing Press and set up a printmaking project in Carnegie House. The project got off to a great start with Artist in Residence Claire Hiett leading the project, but as the pandemic hit in March 2020 the project had to move creatively online with support from the funders. The printing press is a fantastic additional facility for the residents & arts centre and will form part of all future programming.
Building on the success of 2018 the Bridgend Festival of Light moved from November 2019 to February half term 2020 and the project was funded by the National Lottery Community Fund and Bridgend Town Council.
The project was a great success with beautiful large scale professional lanterns built within the community. The event was sadly cancelled at Newbridge Fields due to flooding however an exhibition and mini event was held at Carnegie House showcasing all the beautiful creations.
In 2020 Bridgend Town Council secured funding from the Arts Council Of Wales to run an exciting new arts project at Carnegie House with Artist in Residence, Claire Hiett. The project began just before the pandemic hit in March 2020. The plan was to initially run a series of open studio sessions, open access workshops, outreach sessions and an exhibition. The initial aim of the project was to celebrate the diversity and rich cultural heritage of our town with a series of portraits dedicated to those who go about their daily business and do good things in Bridgend.
The project aimed to encourage participants to challenge traditional notions of portraiture and explore a wide variety of outcomes, from drawing, painting and printmaking to recorded stories.
As the pandemic hit, Bridgend Town Council worked with the Arts Council Wales to look at how the project could be delivered within the confinements of lockdown. The result was a stunning project that resonated with the community and went fully online through tutorials, online workshops and videos.
As part of this project, Artist and Project Leader Claire Hiett received nominations to create portraits of local heroes in the community. The portrait of ICU Nurse Geraint Humphrey painted as part of our Who is Bridgend? Pwy yw Penybont? Project was incorporated into the online Collecting Covid Stories collection at the Public History and Archaeology Department at St Fagan’s National Museum of History in 2021.
Bridgend Town Council
Town Clerk/Deputy Town Clerk
Town Clerk, Mrs Leanne Edwards, Deputy Town Clerk/Responsible Finance Officer, Mrs Debra Jones
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