Rhondda Cynon Taf County Borough Council – Councillor Rhys Lewis

Shortlisted for the Best Local Authority Arts Champion - Councillor in the Hearts for the Arts Awards 2019


Cllr Lewis attends as many cultural events as possible and always speaks from the heart in terms of the arts. He recognises the value of the work that the Arts Service delivers and takes every opportunity to advocate. Most recently this included his support for the takeover by young people at the quarterly Cabinet Member and Senior Officer Briefing to highlight the positive impact on the lives of young people many Council services have, including the arts.

He is Chair of the new Rhondda Cynon Taf County Borough Council Strategic Culture and Arts Steering Group established as an advisory to Cabinet, supporting us to raise the profile of the arts and its impact on key Council agendas. This Group includes representation from the fellow Cabinet Members, elected members, Arts Council of Wales and an independent representative, and is the first of its kind established in Wales.

Cllr Lewis has been instrumental in celebrating the creation of the National Eisteddfod 2018 Chair at the Worker’s Gallery and the naming of the street to commemorate this to ‘Ffordd yr Eisteddfod’. This was followed by a community celebration of the naming and 4th birthday of the gallery.

He is passionate about the arts having personally experienced its benefits. This year we have celebrated the Coliseum Theatre’s 80th anniversary and had an exhibition produced by partners the Library and Heritage Services and Cynon Valley Museum and their volunteers. Cllr Lewis launched  this and, as always, his remarks shared his enthusiasm and commitment for the arts and creating opportunities for engagement within our communities. We feel very fortunate to have him as our Cabinet Member.

What the judges had to say:

“It’s great to see an ambitious young politician acting as such a champion for the arts and for young people’s participation in society.”

“The Cllr’s support of the young people take over of the Cabinet Member and Senior Office Briefing meeting is an impressive move. Not just a polite gesture, it helps young people connect and share ownership of local provision including arts and culture. Being willing to use culture to adopt new practice is very commendable.”