Since becoming Councillor, Ffion Meleri Gwyn has provided inspired leadership to a range of innovative creative projects, contributing massively to the well-being of the Criccieth community during a very testing time.
As a result, Councillor Gwyn has been selected as the winner of Best Arts Champion – Councillor in the 2022 Hearts for the Arts Awards. In the words of our judges, here’s why:
Cllr Gwyn is an artist who has taken the plunge into politics and the results are clear to see – she leads by example is not afraid to bring her artistry to the fore which is inspiring to see! She understands how arts and creativity connect people. I particularly love the way she infuses nature into her delivery. She understands that tackling isolation, especially during the Pandemic is vital. Andy Dawson: Inspire Youth Arts, winner of the 2021 HFTA award for Best Arts Champion – Local Authority or Cultural Trust Worker
There is a real connection here to the local area and its specific character and needs. The response to Ty’n Rhos, as a housing estate that is geographically and socially isolated from the rest of the community, by bringing local residents together to make the ‘rainbow bridge’ – a place of art and connection, is an inspiration. The emphasis on nature and bio-diversity in local art projects, the focus on intergenerational projects and cultural activities rooted in the history of the area, and the alliances forged with local artists is impressive. Kadiatu Kanneh-Mason: author, speaker and supporter of music education
Cllr Gwyn is clearly someone for whom her community matters greatly and is committed to making hers the best it can be. She understands that seemingly simple actions are actually hugely significant: the friendship benches, for example: and the bringing together of people in a community who so often have felt isolated. Shaparak Khorsandi: stand-up comedian, writer, all round delight
Cllr Gwyn is evidently a force of nature! It’s moving to read about how she always leads by example and uses her own artistic talent to transform the town, whether through painting information boards or creating cultural maps. I found it particularly poignant reading about her work to combat loneliness and isolation through friendship benches, and I think creating a rainbow bridge to give the people of Ty’n Rhos a real sense of belonging was inspired. Reading this nomination, it seems that people of all ages have been inspired by the example that Cllr Gwyn has set. Anna Lapwood: organist, conductor and broadcaster
Cllr Gwyn is clearly passionate and committed and a much-loved member of the community and for good reason. She has used her own passion and talent for the benefit of her community, and you get a real sense of her direct involvement of all the projects highlighted. Deborah Meaden: businesswoman and TV Dragon
Cllr Gwyn is clearly someone who makes everything beautiful. I love the sense of transforming through art, and clearly Cllr Gwyn has transformed everything through Rainbow Bridge and made impact in numerous other places besides. Jack Thorne: screenwriter and playwright
At a time of real anxiety, when separation added to people’s loneliness and alienation, Cllr Gwyn rolled up her sleeves and made art that brought people together and made them proud of their community. She’s made a difference. Her ideas are simple, affordable and practical; exactly what’s needed when there isn’t a lot of money or confidence about. Her nomination shows us that the greatest artistic joy often comes from doing and making things ourselves. More councillors should be like this! Samuel West: actor, director, trustee of the National Campaign for the Arts
Read more about Councillor Ffion Meleri Gwyn’s nomination here
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