Press Releases 2016

Launch of Swansea’s new High Street Gallery, theBLOC, will help showcase the talents of UWTSD graduates and other local artists.


The University of Wales Trinity Saint David was represented at the public launch of theBLOC, Swansea High Street's newest gallery space.

Run by elysium gallery artists, many of whom are UWTSD graduates, and supported by Coastal Housing, theBLOC aims to help in the regeneration of High Street, whilst at the same time bridging the gap between artists and the wider community. It also aims to showcase Swansea's new and established artists in a relaxed and informal environment.

Formally opening theBLOC, Jane Simpson, Gallerie Simpson founder and artist said: “It's great that elysium gallery artists now have a presence on the High Street. 

"As someone who has been here for nearly two years, I can say that it is a fantastic place with a varied audience. The more we can do with projects like this, the more we can do to reverse the tide of what people think is happening on Swansea's High Street.

"What we need is places like theBLOC where people know they can spend some time. There are several galleries on the High Street now and it's important that people know they can spend time enjoying different art shows."

TheBLOC is a community-based project comprising of a shop, gallery and events space, run by local artists and supported by elysium gallery and Coastal Housing.

Artists from elysium galleries are working to establish the project as a city-centre hub for the arts and a place for dialogue and collaborations with all creative disciplines including drama, poetry and music. 

It enables local artists to showcase and sell their art and provides an outlet for affordable art to people who may have limited disposable income. In this way, the aim is to remove any sense of exclusivity, although, original, contemporary high-end artwork is also exhibited and for sale.

Organisers are determined that theBLOC will offer visitors a unique gallery experience with inexpensive but high quality prints of original artworks, sculptures, photography, felt art as well as contemporary paintings for collectors.

The opening event at Coast Italia on High Street, was also attended by actor, writer and musician Mal Pope and radio presenter and actor Kev Johns MBE.

Speaking to elysium gallery artist Graham Parker, Mal Pope said: "It's brilliant to see the arts bringing life back into Swansea's High Street." 

Kev Johns MBE added: “You must call into theBLOC, there's some incredible art being exhibited there.” 

Graham Parker from theBLOC said : “We are very grateful to receive support from Mal Pope, Kev Johns, Jane Simpson and everyone who came to the launch. Swansea's High Street is re-inventing itself as the vibrant and exciting shopping, eating and entertainments space it used to be. It's now all down to Swansea's visitors and shoppers to support local arts enterprises like Galleri Simpson, Volcano and theBLOC.”

As well as enjoying paintings, sculptures and prints during the opening night's launch, visitors enjoyed compelling spoken word performances by Mark Montinaro and Cerys Thomas-Ford as well as remarkable performance art by Kieron Beckerton. 

Artists exhibiting at the opening event were:  Rob Anstey, Connor Cooper, Tim Warren, Ann Lucas, Ann Jordan, Paul Munn, Rhian Wyn Stone, Hannah Downing, Tim Kelly, Daniel Staveley, Jenny Chisholm, David Long, Graham Parker, Carys Evans, Eifion Sven-Myer, Hazel Lisette and Dan Westbury.

TheBLOC at 217 High Street, which will be running regular workshops, is open to the public, free of charge, Tuesday to Saturday from 12pm to 6pm. 

Note to Editor

1. Image: Visitors to theBLOC launch

2. Elysium gallery was established in 2007 and is an artist led, self-sustaining enterprise comprising of 60+ studio spaces and a contemporary art gallery over 3 venues in Swansea City Centre, Wales, United Kingdom.

3. They support 13 artists’ studios and a gallery space at 16 College Street, Swansea and a further 13 studios at 2 Mansel Street, Swansea.

4. Elysium gallery  also runs 35 studio spaces, a gallery/test bed space, communal library & research areas and artist residency programmes on the upper floor of the Old Iceland building on Swansea High Street. 


Further information: 

Rebecca Davies

Executive Press and Media Relations Officer

Corporate Communications and PR
Mobile: 07872 423 788

Contact: Graham Parker;

Mobile: 07801931417