Welsh Business Leaders Champion the Arts

A team of successful company bosses in North Wales have been appointed as official ambassadors to bring the world of arts and business together.

Arts & Business Cymru business ambassadors Pictured (front L/R) are Chris Frost, Owner at Manorhaus Boutique Hotel, Gwenno Angharad NW Partnership Director, Ken Grayson, Chief Executive Peninsula Home Improvements, Paula Jewson, Director, Tesni Homes and Chair A&B Cymru Board Member, Mario Kreft Director, Pendine Park Care organisation, Roy Jones , Community Liason Officer Scottish Power, Jeremy Salisbury, Director Salisbury's & Co and Andrew Bowden Chief executive, Cartrefi Conwy.

They will be championing the advantages of working with Arts & Business (A&B) Cymru create partnerships that can boost business by getting involved in artistic projects.

Gwenno Angharad, A&B Cymru’s North Wales Partnership Director, explained: “The ambassadors are drawn from across North Wales and represent a wide range of successful businesses.

“We will meet quarterly to discuss business development opportunities and how the private sector can work with the arts to help A&B Cymru become more accessible and dynamic.”

“I couldn’t be more delighted to have this expert team on board and am hugely grateful that such busy professionals are prepared to help me develop ideas on this fabulous journey. It’s certainly exciting times!

“Their advice will be invaluable and will provide a platform for what we can achieve across North Wales. I now look forward to developing relationships.”

The magnificent seven include;

  • Mario Kreft MBE, founder of the pioneering care organisation Pendine Park
  • Andrew Bowden, chief executive of housing association Cartrefi Conwy
  • Jeremy Salisbury, director of St Asaph-based accountants Salisburys
  • Ken Grayson, chief executive of Peninsula Home Improvements
  • Chris Frost, co-owner of the Manorhaus boutique hotels in Ruthin and Llangollen
  • Paula Jewson, director of Mold-based Tesni Properties
  • Roy Jones MBE, Scottish Power’s Community Liaison Manager

Mario Kreft MBE sees his new role as a way of promoting the network that exists between business and the arts.

He said: “I had no hesitation in agreeing to become an ambassador for A&B Cymru.

“We realised very early on that the arts play a very important role in the success of our Pendine Park care homes and we are always keen to develop ideas whether through music, painting, photography or any other form of art.”

“More and more businesses are beginning to see the benefit of involving the arts and as a result they are more and more championing the arts in many forms.

“The idea of a panel of ambassadors, drawn from North Wales businesses that can meet and develop ideas on a regular basis is inspired. I have no doubt both business and the arts will benefit.”

Andrew Bowden was also delighted to be asked to join the team of new ambassadors.

He said: “A&B Cymru has added value to Cartrefi Conwy, there is absolutely no doubt about that. We have been helped to engage with our communities in a fun way while getting our message across.

“Through A&B Cymru we have created solutions to a number of problems, for example digital isolation. Working with A&B Cymru we provided digital cameras to groups of tenants who learnt how to use them through a photography course led by Paul Sampson, Curator of Oriel Colwyn.

“They then downloaded images and shared them with friends and family. One tenant learnt how to share pictures with family in New Zealand, something he never thought he would be able to do.

“All this led to more confidence and helped tenants learn how to use the internet for their own benefit and as a result be able to search for better energy and other deals thereby making savings.”

He added: “We need to encourage businesses to engage with A&B Cymru and to look to the arts for solutions to their problems. Sometimes we need to think outside the box.”

Jeremy Salisbury, director of St Asaph-based Salisbury Chartered Accountants, has been actively involved with A&B Cymru for many years.

He said: “As a business we do all we can to help the North Wales International Music Festival for example by providing the management team with office space.

“I also work closely with Llandudno’s MOSTYN Gallery, the largest publicly funded contemporary art institution in Wales, and a flagship for art in the UK. Through A&B Cymru’s Professional Development Programmes, I have recently become  Chair of the gallery’s Board which I am enjoying hugely.

“I’m a big supporter of A&B Cymru and have mentored arts managers through their programmes. My involvement has always been extremely positive.”

He added: “It’s really all about supporting and developing the arts and giving it a bigger audience. There are amazing network opportunities and art is wonderful way to help naturally develop staff.”

Ken Grayson of Anglesey-based Peninsula Home Improvements has worked with A&B Cymru for a decade.

He said: “From a business point of view, A&B Cymru allowed our company to be regarded differently. We started out as a traditional double glazing company but our association with the arts helped us add value to what we did and how we were perceived.

“I have been involved in numerous projects all of which have given me an opportunity to raise profile, engage with the community and provide creative and effective development opportunities for our staff

“Our work with the arts and with individual artists enriches our company and helps us to communicate that important message that it isn’t all about money.”

He added: “I’m really looking forward to working closely with Gwenno, the other ambassadors and companies to deliver our message and involve art in all its forms collaboratively with the North Wales business scene.”

Chris Frost, a partner in The Manorhaus restaurants with rooms in Ruthin and Llangollen, said: “We have been members of A&B Cymru for 10 years. We use art to integrate our business. We want to bring together artists and develop ideas that help develop businesses.

“We want to be involved with art projects and show businesses how art can help develop, inspire and enhance what they do and how they are perceived.”

He added: “I think it’s true to say not enough people know, or understand, just what A&B Cymru does and to be able to help spread that message and get more people involved can only have a positive effect.”

Paula Jewson, director of Mold-based Tesni Properties and an A&B Cymru board member, will be an ambassadorial Chair, ensuring the team are kept informed of new projects and called upon for advice.

She said: “It’s vital we grow A&B Cymru across North Wales. The new ambassadors will help us to focus on what the needs of our members are.

“A&B Cymru is a conduit bringing together artists/arts organisations and business and developing ideas that can be fed into a cultural programme that allows artistic activities to evolve and develop and benefit both the arts and business.”

To find out more about Arts and Business Cymru please visit www.aandbcymru.org.uk