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Amgueddfa Cymru – National Museum Wales in new collaboration to help local health boards across Wales

The role of the arts and creativity in aiding our wellbeing is well-researched and recognised. A shared commitment to helping support people’s health and wellbeing in Wales through the arts and culture  is one of the principles that has brought Amgueddfa Cymru, the Arts Council of Wales and the Welsh Government together to launch a series of new projects, titled Celf ar y Cyd (‘Art in Collaboration’).

The first strand of the collaboration will see Amgueddfa Cymru and the Arts Council of Wales work with health boards throughout Wales to explore how the Museum’s collection can enrich and complement the artwork currently on display in hospitals. They aim to bring comfort to the patients at the temporary hospitals and permanent locations by showcasing artwork that depicts their area.

This project comes following the opening of 17 temporary hospitals in Wales to double NHS capacity as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The artworks chosen by the Hywel Dda University Health Board for display describe the extraordinary richness of ordinary life in west Wales. They include Lionel Walden’s sea scene, Moonlight on the Sea, James Dickson Innes’ Pembroke Coast and John Brett’s Forest Cove, Cardigan Bay.

The artworks chosen by the Cwm Taf Morgannwg Health Board for display describe the extraordinary richness of ordinary life in the Valleys of south east Wales. They include Kevin Sinnott’s street scene, Running Away with the Hairdresser and Ernest Zobole’s landscape of a wintry Rhondda Fawr, Some Trees and Snow.

In a dedicated rehabilitation space, an exhibition of David Hurn’s photographs of the area, taken between the 1960s and 1980s, provides a space to help older patients recall memories. Photographs such as his much-loved Monday Wash Day, Rhondda Valley, celebrate the familiar routines of home.


Dr Kath Davies, Director of Collections and Research, Amgueddfa Cymru says:


“This is a great opportunity to work alongside the Arts Council of Wales and the Welsh Government to support the health and wellbeing of communities across Wales.


“Amgueddfa Cymru’s art collection belongs to everyone in Wales. Being able to display prints of these beautiful artworks in the hospital and lift the mood of visitors at what may be a difficult time, is just one way art can make a difference in our lives. We look forward to continuing our work with health boards across Wales to support wellbeing through our collections.”

Nick Capaldi, Chief Executive for Arts Council of Wales says:

“The positive impacts that the arts can have in aiding patient recovery were recognised by the great health reformer Florence Nightingale. It’s therefore entirely appropriate that the National Health Service in Wales is working with the National Museum to use its great collection to positively influence the health and wellbeing of patients and staff in these ‘Nightingale hospitals’. Arts and culture has been a great source of solace and comfort for many during this time of pandemic and anxiety. It’s a practical example of the agreement that we’ve signed with the NHS Confederation to promote the benefits that the arts can bring to the wellbeing and quality of life of everyone, not least the patients and staff who are such an important focus of our thoughts and thanks.”

The Celf ar y Cyd project is ongoing and will continue to work with health boards across Wales to find new ways to make sure that the National Art Collection can be shared by NHS teams and patients.​


The Celf ar y Cyd project will include additional strands, which will include a new monthly digital magazine and a new project that will look at the nation’s favourite 100 works of art from Amgueddfa Cymru’s collections. As restrictions due to the coronavirus pandemic continue to have an effect on visitors to museums, it is hoped that these projects will help make the collections accessible to everyone.


Dr Meinir Jones, clinical lead for field hospitals in Hywel Dda University Health Board says:


“An inviting, stimulating and healing environment is really important to patients in their recovery. Whilst our walls would otherwise be bare, we now have the beautiful west Wales landscapes to look at which give a sense of calm and hope.


“We are extremely grateful to the Arts Council of Wales and Welsh Government to be part of this project. We have had a lovely response to the artwork from our first patients to use one of our field hospitals in Ysbyty Enfys Caerfyrddin and it has definitely help improve their patient experience.”


Richard Lee, Cwm Taf Morgannwg’s clinical lead for the field hospital says:


“We are excited to be working on this innovative project with Amgueddfa Cymru. The use of art in Ysbyty’r Seren field hospital will make a big difference to all who use the building, both patients and staff alike. We have chosen pieces of work that reflect the communities which are familiar to us all, and which I am sure will give a great sense of comfort and enjoyment to those who spend time in the space.”


Deputy Minister for Culture, Sport and Tourism, Lord Elis-Thomas, says:


“The Welsh Government recognises the massive and unprecedented challenges the pandemic is having on the very fabric of Welsh life and we applaud the resilience and creativity on show by our museums, archives and libraries.


“In the context of health and social care the role of art and creativity is apparent beyond the NHS and beyond specific therapeutic impacts, providing creative outlets and health benefits for patients, staff and the public. The National Art Collection belongs to us all. I am pleased this important legacy is becoming made accessible in new ways, most immediately to enrich the environment of hospitals and care homes. As this develops in the coming years I look forward to seeing more opportunities for use of the arts in a wider range of contexts.”

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