Cardiff and Vale UHB’s Arts for Health and Wellbeing team are delighted to welcome Molly May Lewis as the new gallery coordinator of the Hearth Gallery in University Hospital Llandough.

Molly May Lewis

Molly is a printmaker and fine artist by trade and has worked with the team in the past as both part of the health board’s NHS at 70 celebrations and its presence at the PRIDE Cymru parade in 2018.

She was one of a number of incredibly strong candidates interviewed for the opportunity, which generated a high level of interest when advertised.

Molly’s application stood out as she demonstrated a comprehensive understand of the Wellbeing of Future Generations Act and how the arts programme contributes to the UHB’s fulfilment of some of its central tenets.

The Hearth Gallery was constructed and opened in 2015 and, ever since, exhibitions there have coordinated by Melanie Wotton. Thanks to funding from the Arts Council of Wales, Melanie has been given the opportunity to take the UHB’s arts programme out into the community to focus on addressing issues such as social isolation and building supportive, creative communities with the goal of keeping people from being admitted to hospital.

During Melanie’s time in charge, the Hearth Gallery has gone from strength to strength and was the springboard from which the UHB was able to launch its arts team with funding from the Cardiff & Vale Health Charity, as feedback from patients, visitors and staff members formed a central part of this business case.

Melanie has overseen over 50 stunning exhibitions at the Hearth Gallery and developed the Plaza exhibition space, just outside the gallery, as well. Recently, she represented the UHB and the gallery in Rome as a delegate of the British Council as part of their UK – Italy cultural exchange. This year, she was also a finalist in the Chwarae Teg Womenspire awards for her work at the Hearth Gallery.

Melanie said, ‘’I am absolutely delighted that Molly is able to join our team, bringing with her Fine Art technical expertise, a deep understanding of creative arts in health and wellbeing, together with a unique and fresh approach. I look forward to working with her as coordinator and in further developing the many creative opportunities that the Hearth Gallery is providing.’’

‘’It has been an absolute privilege to be able to develop the Hearth Gallery as one of the most unique exhibition spaces in Wales. The gallery has been pivotal in opening out artistic opportunities for so many people from all walks of life and experience, and we look forward to this continuing. We have been supported by an enormous number of wonderful artists who have shown their work in the gallery for the benefit of our patients, staff and visitors. I would like to take the opportunity to thank everyone, and to look forward to many more innovative exhibitions and creative arts projects, which we aim now to develop throughout our hospital sites and within community spaces.

Interest and a belief in the importance and value of arts in wellbeing, particularly at a grassroots level, has grown dramatically over the last few years, illustrated by the Hearth Gallery’s inclusion at this year’s British Council UK/Italy 2020 delegation to Rome, and we are happy to see this momentum in venues throughout Cardiff and the Vale of Glamorgan.’’

Molly said, “I am delighted to be the latest member to join the Arts team at Cardiff and Vale UHB as the new Coordinator of the Hearth Gallery at University Hospital Llandough.

“Since graduating with a BA Degree in Fine Art from Cardiff School of Art and Design, I have exhibited my work in various galleries across the UK, worked on a freelance basis for several Artists and Designers in Cardiff and I have been commissioned by Cardiff and Vale UHB for a variety of creative projects.

“I now look forward to using my experience and knowledge to create an exciting future programme for the Hearth gallery. This will include showcasing both established and emerging artists as well as collaborating with the local community and artistic collectives.

“My aim is to maintain the artistic success of the gallery, ensuring the smooth running of a variety of exhibitions and projects and providing a positive and thought- provoking experience for the visitor.”

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