UWTSD’s fine art graduate and elysium gallery artist Graham Parker says theBloc is one of Swansea’s premier creative arts hubs


With a steady flow of enthusiastic visitors in its opening month, theBLOC is now establishing itself as one of Swansea's premier creative arts hubs.

UWTSD fine art graduate and elysium gallery artist Graham Parker said: “It's been hard work but with background support from elysium gallery and Coastal Housing Group, we've managed to stage our launch event, put on two different gallery exhibitions and host a pop-up drawing event. On top of this, our recent Friday evening jam session featured performances by local artists Nana Joan and Alfie playing a medley of acoustic instruments. 

 Graham added: “One of our key objectives is to engage with Swansea's diverse communities. Our public arts and music events are great way to achieve this. Another of our objectives is to assist in transformation of the City's High Street from a former run down, tired street into a thriving cultural and shopping experience. Before we can bring people back to the High Street, there has to be range of interesting places to visit and shops to browse in.”

The good news is that Swansea’s High Street is transforming itself into a go-to destination. Volcano Theatre and elysium studios are opposite theBLOC gallery, shop and arts space. Swansea Broadcaster and Singer, Songwriter Mal Pope's Cappuccino Girls 2 – The Musical is hosted just next door in Coast Italia and Galerie Simpson is just down the road.

“It's everything you could possibly want for a day or evening out," said Graham.

The first in a series of open-to the-public workshops kicks off on Friday, May 13, when award winning multi media artist Hazel Cardew presents a public photo walk entitled 'Around theBLOC.'

To book your place on the 'Around theBloc’ photo-walk please call into theBLOC shop during opening hours or email thebloc.art@gmail.com

Hazel, who graduated with a first class honours BA degree in fine art from University Gloucestershire in 2012, now works as a Creative Content Assistant Intern in UWTSD’s Student Experience department. Her artworks have been exhibited widely both in the UK and Internationally. 

Before moving to Swansea, Hazel worked in Japan within an artist collective known as Tokyo Digital Artists where she developed her photographic and digital skills and ultimately creating and exhibiting the 2015 Tokyo Light Painting Show.

Hazel is now an artist at elysium studios, where, with the support of elysium artists, she has been further developing her artist practice.

Hazel said: “I recently led a successful photo walk in Tokyo, so I'm looking forward to doing the same thing in Swansea. It’s open to everyone, from beginners to experts. It really doesn't matter if you have a digital, manual or camera phone. Everyone is welcome.”

The photo walk will begin at theBloc where a route map will be provided and project objectives will be discussed. After walking through and photographing aspects of the city centre, the group will meet back at theBloc for an informal discussion and a question and answer forum.

Hazel said: "For some, this will be a chance to work on location and find new areas of inspiration. For others, it will be a great opportunity to learn more about their cameras and photography.  Most importantly perhaps, it will be a great opportunity to meet like-minded people and to just enjoy capturing interesting and personal photographic records and interpretations of Swansea's city-centre."

In the following weeks, theBLOC will be showcasing new exhibition of original drawings by elysium studios’ artists and will host an exhibition of artworks by University of Wales Trinity Saint David artists-in-residence.

Graham Parker added: “We aim to ensure that there's always something different happening in the BLOC. As well as gallery quality paintings, art photographs and sculptures, there’s an ever-changing selection of inexpensive artist's prints, T-shirts, bags and other creative gifts. theBLOC is a great place to find that last minute personal gift on your way to the railway station.”

theBLOC, at 217 High Street is open to the public, free of charge Tuesday to Saturday from 11am - 5pm.

The photo walk (which starts in theBLOC) will take place between 6pm - 7pm on Friday 13 May. An administrative fee of £2 per person will be charged. To book your place on the 'Around theBloc’ photo-walk please call into theBLOC shop during opening hours or email thebloc.art@gmail.com

Note to Editor

Rebecca Davies

Executive Press and Media Relations Officer

Corporate Communications and PR
Mobile: 07872 423 788
Email: Rebecca.Davies@uwtsd.ac.uk