So where did CARAD come from?
A community play, The Lost Harp, stirred the imaginations of the people of Rhayader in 1994 and from this CARAD (Community Arts Rhayader And District) was born.
Enthusiastic volunteers then raised the money to secure two industrial units on the outskirts of the town which opened in 1999 for use for performance, dance and all things creative. The plan was to draw on the areas unique heritage to tell its story in creative ways. This coincided with the decision by Rhayader Folk Museum to hand on their collections to CARAD.
Over the next 10 years while preparing the ground for the town’s new community museum, CARAD delivered a wealth of different projects for local residents of all ages and ability – exhibitions, music, theatre and other beautiful outcomes like the spectacular dragon ‘Oroborus’ made for the Millennium from more than 5000 individual copper scales and the sculptures that grace the riverside walk along the Wye.
In partnership with other local organisations, the small staff team and a dedicated group of volunteers have and continue to devise ways of raising the profile of the town through community events like The Gro Gathering, and Christmas Lantern Extravaganza. They capture the local stories and transform them into theatre productions and exhibitions and the legacy lives on in the museum archives.
Scazzville Pressure - Under the shadow of the Dam – Gro Gathering – Gardeners World Garden – The Farmer and his Wife – Christmas Extravaganza – Finding Rhayader
The museum was and remains CARAD's biggest ‘project’ to date. Since 2009 its exhibition programme has been diverse and varied. CARAD was successful in bringing the long awaited ‘Rhayader Jewels’ back to the town as part of the summer exhibition in 2011. This outstanding collection of Romano-British jewellery would normally be on permanent display in the British Museum and during the Glimmer in the Earth exhibition they were displayed with the Llanwrthwl Torcs. This Bronze Age collection, found locally in the late 1950’s, is on display at the National Museum of Wales.
The CARAD team works with artists when devising some of the exhibitions, taking a special interest in working with community groups to interpret or bring objects alive with the stories behind them to create a special and very individual experience on each occasion.
Other exhibitions are programmed to showcase the wealth of emerging talent that exists in this part of Powys and Mid Wales
Watch the Restrospects video: