In Spring 2013, our Arts Workers Tim Smith and Chris Partridge were commissioned to create a large-scale mural on the exercise yard wall of the Phoenix Wing at HMP Parc in Bridgend. HM Prison Parc is a Category B Men’s Private Prison and Young Offenders Institution, located in Bridgend, Mid Glamorgan, Wales. It is operated by G4S, and is the only privately operated prison in Wales.
After consultations with prison staff and inmates it was decided that the mural should contain the phoenix, dragons and a forest in a Welsh-themed design. The design that was decided upon was a collaboration of ideas from some of the inmates working with Tim and Chris. The group then worked to transfer the design onto the yard wall and the result was an eye-catching mural which, thanks to the glorious summer weather, was completed in just seven day-long sessions. Prison inmates have subsequently continued the mural to cover all four walls of the exercise yard.
As part of HMP Parc’s ‘Invisible Walls’ initiative, we were also commissioned in 2013 to create a large mosaic to adorn the exterior entrance to the Visitors’ Centre at the prison. The project involved the innovative concept of working with the prisoners and their families during visiting hours, a somewhat experimental approach which, after a few teething problems, proved to be a great success. The mosaic incorporated designs created by the prisoners’ children, based on family activities typical of each month of the year, with the slogan ‘Parc Supporting Families – Stronger Together’. The mosaic was constructed by both the prisoners and their families during friendly and relaxed sessions. The mosaic, which took 6 months to complete, has attracted a lot of positive feedback from both prisoners, prison staff and visitors to the prison.