The Glynn Vivian Art Gallery is a local gallery and a centre of excellence for the visual arts in Swansea, but also plays a vital role in the ecosystem of arts in the whole of Wales and beyond.
Following a bequest of work from Richard Glynn Vivian (1835-1910), the Gallery opened to the public in 1911. It is a vibrant and inspiring free art space for everyone and provides a place for historical, modern and contemporary art exhibitions, talks, lectures and conferences, workshops and activities, live music, performance and events in the heart of Swansea’s bustling artistic quarter.
The Gallery’s exhibitions programme includes collaborations, commissions, site-specific and socially engaged work, supporting emerging and established local artists as well as bringing some of the world’s leading artists to Wales.
The Gallery has a wonderful collection of artworks and ceramics as well as works on paper, which form an important part of the city’s “cultural memory”. These are displayed in the permanent collection galleries, where artists, curators, communities and historians are invited to help us to reassess their value and usefulness in contemporary society, telling new stories and creating new conversations. The modern collection includes works by Barbara Hepworth, Paul Nash, Wyndham Lewis and Ivon Hitchens as well as notable Welsh artists such as Evan Walters, Augustus John, Gwen John and Ceri Richards. Contemporary works by Welsh artists include pieces by Shani Rhys James, Craig Wood, Peter Finnemore and Laura Ford. The permanent collection holds a large group of ceramics with a number of items from the Nantgarw and Swansea potteries and a collection of studio pottery by Lucie Rie, Carol McNicoll and Phil Rogers.
Glynn Vivian’s belief is that ‘Art Can Change Your Life’ and the learning and engagement programme, reaches over 16,000 people a year. There are many ways to engage, for both the regular gallery visitor and those more targeted and diverse audiences in Swansea the surrounding areas. Glynn Vivian Art Gallery is part of Swansea Council and is supported by the Arts Council of Wales. Glynn Vivian is a partner of Tate, and exchanges programmes, ideas and skills with the Plus Tate network of visual arts organisations across the UK. Other programme partnerships include The British Museum, Wales Arts International, National Portrait Gallery, Hayward Touring Gallery, Esmee Fairbairn and Imperial War Museum.
The Contemporary Art Society has donated over 65 works to the Glynn Vivian Art Gallery, who have been a member museum since 1927, by modern British artists such as Mark Gertler, Charles Ginner, Wyndham Lewis and William Roberts as well contemporary artists such as Dhruva Mistry, Neeta Madahar and Melanie Rose and most recently commissions as part of a series of exhibitions entitled Conversations with the Collection include the sculptures of Carlos Bunga in 2021.