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Rainworks: GS Community Art Collaboration with Cwmavon

GS Artists were collaborators with our landlords, Coastal Housing, on bringing what we termed, “Secret Street Art” to Wales.  We created a series of secret messages around the Ynys Lee Estate near Port Talbot, that only appear when it rains. Read on:

New artwork can only be seen when it rains

South Wales Evening Post 08/11/19

It’s not often people hope for it to rain, particularly during the half-term holidays but that’s exactly what happened recently during Wales’s first Rainworks art installation in Cwmavon.

Organised by Coastal Housing with project collaborators GS Artists, families living in Ynys Lee came together early in the week to design stencils around the theme of why Ynys Lee is such a great place to live.

With the support of professional artists, these stencils were used to treat the ground with Rainworks Invisible Spray producing Rainworks – secret works of art that can only be seen when it rains. The Rainworks concept, based around an environmentally-friendly spray, was invented in Seattle as a way to bring smiles to people’s faces even when it rains.

The installation in Cwmavon is the first time a Rainwork has been created in Wales.

Cayleigh Ward has lived at Ynys Lee for around 15 years and created a secret message encouraging people to ‘Be More Ynys Lee’. She added: “Ynys Lee’s awesome. Everybody loves Ynys Lee.

“There’s a big community up here. Everybody knows each other and everybody helps each other.”

The Rainworks installation was the brainwave of Coastal’s health and wellbeing manager Sarah Davies who read about Rainworks goal of giving people a reason to smile when it rains in its native Seattle.

She added: “Seattle is often nicknamed Rainy City, so the parallel to South Wales was obvious. I wondered how we could celebrate communities across rainy South Wales and approached people in Ynys Lee to be the first installation.

“At Coastal we’ve got a culture of innovation so it’s fitting that we’re doing the first installation in Wales.”

Jane Simpson of GS Artists devised the art workshops that helped local people turn their ideas into secret street art. She said: “‘We couldn’t have come to a better place, what lovely people that clearly love living at Ynys Lee And some very secretly creative people.”