After a multi-million-pound investment, Pontypridd’s YMCA is set for a big reopening this year, this time, as a bells and whistles centre for the arts, culture and creativity. But it’s not just the look and feel of the building that’s being given a makeover. Today, Artis Community Cymuned, who will be managing the running of the building, has announced that the centre will be getting a change of name too to go along with the major refurbishment: no longer the Ponty YMCA, but the YMa: Man Creu Meithrin Celf (Place for Creativity, Culture, Arts). Or just the catchier YMa, for short.
The name was chosen democratically, and with community in mind, by the local people that the space has been and will continue to serve, from a series of ‘Community Conversations’ over the past year. YMa emerged as the most popular name choice for hosts Artis Community Cymuned, meaning ‘here’ in Welsh.
“It acknowledges the term ‘YM’ often used by local people in reference to the Pontypridd YMCA before it closed,” Jen Angharad, Chief Executive of Artis explains. “With the addition of a smaller ‘a’ it becomes YMa, giving the building a bilingual identity and establishing its place ‘here’ in the community. The branding for the new identity has been produced by Kutchibok Design and we’re delighted to be unveiling it today.”
The organisation hope to be up and running in their new space by the end of this year, with an inaugural season of events beginning in the New Year. As such, they are also looking for members of the public to get involved with their two new volunteering programmes. This will include a ‘Take Over’ day for young people, as part of a scheme called Young People’s Creative Ambassadors, in partnership with YEPS (Youth Engagement and Participation Service). YMa will also be looking for general volunteers to help run the building after it opens, who will be eligible to receive special offers on events and classes there.
The design of the soon-to-be-named YMa, from artist duo Heinrich & Palmer, takes similar inspiration from its surroundings and heritage, including the Welsh national anthem, local landscape and, of course, the interests of the community.
Speaking to Buzz Culture student Chris Francis in April, the pair (Anna Heinrich and Leon Palmer) explained how their myriad of influences came together in the finished product: “You’ve got two halves to the design: one half is the Rhondda running down to the sea, and the other half is the Cynon – the Taff – running down to the sea. […]
“We also looked in the museum [National Library Of Wales] itself, and came across a copy of the original Land Of My Fathers manuscript, which I think has a date written in it of 1856, and the father and son [Evan James and James James] were residents of Pontypridd.
“The words of the anthem, Hen Wlad Fy Nhadau in its original Welsh, runs in the form of a red path around the hills and mountains as described by the map-style artwork – almost dancing around the work in song and making the hills alive again.”
words HANNAH COLLINS
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