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Creative wellbeing at the centre of new project from Mostyn

An evening gathering at Oriel Machno, Penmachno. Image: Kristin Luke.

Mostyn – a centre for contemporary visual art with Welsh roots – is excited to unveil its programme for Isdyfiant / Undergrowth, which blooms across Spring to late Summer 2023.

The project aims to support and improve physical and mental health by allowing people to connect to the natural world through creative activities: a series of free events, which take place at the gallery’s home in Llandudno; a community-focused artists’ residency in Penmachno; and a closed health and wellbeing programme which will take place across North Wales.

At Mostyn, Llandudno, there’s something for the naturally curious in a programme of free events taking place between May and August. From creating wearable sensory sculptures to crafting  Mini Monsters to soothe daily worries, there’s a chance to get hands-on with artists and makers. Getting outdoors, Mostyn will also be the starting point for a number of walks and trips, which will soak up the landscapes of Anglesey, the Gwydir Forest, and the Orme. Further details of these events and free tickets will be released on Mostyn’s website and social media in the coming weeks and months.

At Penmachno in the Machno Valley, artist Kristin Luke will take up residence at Oriel Machno to develop a series of activities around ecology, environment and sustainability, taking place over May and June. Once the village shop and a community darkroom for processing photographic negatives, Oriel Machno sat empty for decades. In 2022, Luke, the community and a team of dedicated volunteers reopened the space as a gallery, in partnership with the Penmachno Community Trust. This programme of activity will be announced soon, and hopes to further connect the creative networks of Mostyn and Oriel Machno. The development of Oriel Machno has been supported by Natural Resources Wales, Cartrefi Conwy and Ffiwsar through their Research and Design project, Dyffryn Dyfodol / Future Valley.

Across North Wales, the gallery will also lead on delivering a health and wellbeing programme to bring closed sessions to regional groups and charities in late Summer. Hosted by artist and facilitator Ffion Evans, alongside art therapist Tiffany Arnold, people active in groups connected with mental health support charity Conwy Mind and the Conwy County Borough Council (CCBC) Wellbeing Group will have the opportunity to take part in activities.

The project is funded by Natural Resources Wales (NRW), as part of their Resilient Community Grants Programme. The main aim of the programme is to provide communities with the opportunities to restore and enhance their local areas, particularly in Wales’ most disadvantaged communities, and those with little access to nature.

Alfredo Cramerotti, Director at Mostyn, said: “The NRW-supported Isdyfiant project is instrumental for Mostyn to deliver a number of activities and outreach projects across North Wales. Involving hundreds of people as well as dozens of artists, educators, makers, and practitioners working alongside a range of residents from all ages and backgrounds, the project is also supporting professional development opportunities. It is a pivotal, socially-driven project with contemporary art and the environment as its starting points. The project hopes to have a positive impact for the current and future communities of Llandudno, Penmachno and across the region.”

Justin Hanson, NRW’s Team Leader, North West People and Places Team, said: “We are pleased to be supporting this project as part of our Resilient Community Grants Programme. Being outdoors and learning about the environment is beneficial for physical and mental wellbeing and connects people with nature which builds positive behaviours which can help tackle the climate and nature emergency. This is part of our work to do all we can to champion our natural environment by supporting projects that benefit the communities and the environment of Wales.”

Conversations and work created in this programme will shape a major exhibition at Mostyn in 2024, which will draw together activity from the public events, from Kristen Luke’s residency at Oriel Machno and from the health and wellbeing sessions.

More information on the project and events can be found at mostyn.org