New exhibition to celebrate 40 years of BayArt’s studio space and gallery

The gallery has provided affordable studio space to award-winning artists from the Butetown Artists Studio Group since the 1980s

Artists studio with paintbrushes and pots
Before moving to their current location in Cardiff Bay, Butetown Artists Studio Group occupied an old co-op shirt factory, said curator Philip Nicol

An exhibition celebrating 40 years of BayArt’s studio space and gallery opens this week, featuring work from the gallery’s Butetown Artists Studio Group. 

The exhibition will run from 17 November to 11 December 2020 and will showcase paintings and sculptures by members of the group. According to BayArt’s website, the group is one of the most established in Wales and features a Royal Academician, a former exhibitor at Cardiff’s Artes Mundi and four Gold Medal winners from the National Eisteddfod

The group has occupied its current space in Cardiff Bay since the early 1980s. Curator Philip Nicol said after ten years the building was falling apart, meaning the group had to secure a Lottery grant for refurbishment. A condition of receiving that funding was to run a public space, which the group has done since 2002. 

“They’re affordable studios, we try to keep it as reasonable as possible,” Philip said. 

“We’re the masters of our own destiny as we own the building. I managed to get a gift of the freehold from the part owners, so we’re not under the vagaries of a landlord,” he said.

Looking forward

A lot has changed for artists in Cardiff since the group first moved to its current location, Philip said. The docks were “neglected” at that time, he said, but added that the creative industries in Wales were bigger now than they had ever been. 

We’re the masters of our own destiny as we own the building

Whereas over the last 20 years artists had benefited from “capitalistic” galleries in places like New York, Berlin, or London, places like Cardiff could be beneficial because they’re small enough to know a lot of people, Philip said. 

“I think that’s getting more and more important actually, as people have less faith in that capitalistic enterprise, which is based on the individual artists as opposed to the collective.”

The exhibition features a number of renowned painters and sculptors including: 
  • Mary Husted
  • Iwan Bala 
  • Dilys Jackson
  • Terry Setch
  • Maggie James 
  • Philip Nicol
A selection of the art featured in the exhibition: