The winners have been announced for the annual National Campaign for the Arts' (NCA) Hearts for the Arts Awards 2022. The awards celebrate the unsung heroes of Local Authorities who are championing the arts against all odds.
Nominations were received from across the UK for each of the three award categories. Best Arts Project; Best Arts Champion - Local Authority or Cultural Trust Worker; and Best Arts Champion – Councillor.
After representatives from this year’s Hearts for the Arts partners created the shortlist of nominations, winners were selected by high-profile professionals in the arts, business, and journalism sectors. Ffion Meleri Gwyn has been selected as the winner of ‘Best Arts Champion – Councillor’ for her inspired leadership, advocating for creativity, and spear-heading a range of creative and innovative projects, contributing massively to the well-being of the Cricieth community during a very challenging time for all.
Samuel West, Actor, Director and Trustee of the National Campaign for the Arts said:
“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.”
Discussing Councillor Ffion Meleri Gwyn and her work for Cricieth Town Council, the judges said:
“There is a real connection here to the local area and its specific character and needs. The response to Ty’n Rhos, 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.”
Deborah Meaden, businesswoman and TV Dragon said:
“Ffion is clearly someone who makes everything beautiful. I love the sense of transforming through art, and clearly Ffion has transformed everything through Rainbow Bridge and made impact in numerous other places too.”
In response to winning, Ffion said:
“I’m delighted and honoured to have won this award which is a tribute to the amazing work and involvement of members of our community, from young to old in so many memorable projects. We are living in unprecedented times and it’s fantastic to be able to reach out through our varied creative initiatives to involve hundreds in our bilingual community. These projects have boosted the well-being of all of us. “
Dr Catrin Jones, Clerk of Cricieth Town Council said:
“Congratulations to Ffion on winning this prestigious award in a very competitive field. In the time of Covid, Ffion, as an artist and as a Councillor, has made the case for creativity in partnership by setting an example of how, despite all the necessary restrictions, it was and remains possible and beneficial to innovate and create and make art a community adventure. She’s provided inspired leadership on a range of creative and innovative projects, working tirelessly to engage with the community, encouraging people from all walks of life to take part. To successfully launch and accomplish a Creative Strategy, every Council needs a Ffion.”
Hearts For The Arts is a National Campaign for the Arts initiative delivered by the NCA in partnership with Community Leisure UK, Creative Lives, the Local Government Association, Thrive and UK Theatre.
The National Campaign for the Arts (NCA) is a charity and independent campaigning organisation, run by a board of volunteer trustees. They campaign for more investment in the arts, to improve the lives of everyone; and they champion those who make that happen.