It goes without saying that generations of artists, performers, musicians and makers of every kind have been inspired by Pembrokeshire. The soft light, the smells, the sounds, the feeling that you are at the edge of everything, the historic land and seascapes – all contribute to a world-class standard of creativity right across the county.
And increasingly that creativity is taking on more and more diverse forms. Landscape art, modern art, ceramics, sculpture, exploring our heritage, film, digital arts, comedy, music of every kind, theatre, dance, gaming, sharing seasonal and locally sourced food. It’s all there to delight us, and Pembrokeshire Inspired exists to make all these experiences more accessible, easier to locate and book and, we hope, more sustainable.
The project came about through a European funded programme called LEADER and was chosen because it felt like the missing piece of the jigsaw of local support and activity on so many fronts – wellbeing, learning, financial opportunity and promoting the county as somewhere special to live and visit. That was our initial thinking, but we started the project by testing that thinking on real people! First of all, the core team, recruited by Project Lead Sue Davies, carried out a county-wide consultation to find out what artists and creators themselves needed, what individuals needed and what families needed to bring the local arts and culture scene to life.
Artists wanted somewhere they could communicate and collaborate with each other, somewhere to showcase the county’s amazing talents and a means by which creatives could keep up with the latest promotional and business tools and share their skills and experiences.
The public wanted a one-stop-shop where they could find out about gigs, exhibitions, concerts and performances, as well as access to individual artists and makers, the best food and drink and the range of heritage and cultural venues throughout the county. They wanted to know what to expect when they rock up at a venue, an artist’s studio, an exhibition, a performance, or a restaurant. Would it suit them and their family, would it be affordable and would it be memorable?
We decided to produce a website and app to give people choice, to provide as much information as possible for people wanting to experience culture and to help artists communicate too. We hope it will enhance and compliment the good work being done by other listings groups in the county and beyond.
The breadth and the resilience of the arts, culture and heritage sector in Pembrokeshire is astonishing. And the determination of so many people to provide top quality experiences never falters. They, and the public we want to serve, deserve the very best – and never more so than now. The project around the website and app will continue to mature – with an arts strategy for the county, the possibility of art awards, commissions, collaborations and exciting partnerships. But this initial, LEADER funded, part of the project will soon come to an end.
So our grateful thanks go to the enthusiastic core team who have been seeing this project through, particularly in lockdown, to Pembrokeshire County Council, Pembrokeshire Coast National Park and PLANED for their ongoing support, to Sue Davies as Project Lead and to Stuart Berry who will be overseeing the website and app in the next year – working with the bright and sparky team from United Studios who do all the techie stuff to make sure the website and app remain fresh and relevant.
Lastly, it has been an enormous privilege for me to be a fellow traveller with so many people who want the best for culture in our county. I know the website and app will make a real difference, and I hope everyone who uses them finds enjoyment and inspiration in the best our county has to offer.
Christine Gwyther, on behalf of Arwain Sir Benfro – Pembrokeshire LEADER