The most prominent and eye-catching piece of artwork in Swansea is set to be demolished as works gets underway to transform the city centre.
Construction work has begun on Swansea’s much anticipated 3,500 capacity digital arena scheme, known as Swansea Central Phase One.
As part of that work, one building due to be removed shortly is the vacant red brick part of the former St David’s Shopping Centre, immediately to the north of the temporary St Mary’s car park.
It will be familiar to many, as it includes the large ‘More Poetry is Needed’ artwork painted directly onto the brickwork.
The artwork was commissioned as part of a Dylan Thomas 100 project, an international celebration of activity to celebrate 100 years since Dylan Thomas’s birth in 2014.
The striking slogan, on a plain black backdrop, was produced by Jeremy Deller, whose plaintive request gets straight to the point.
A Swansea Council spokesman said: “This temporary artwork was installed around five years ago.
“It was commissioned by an arts agency as a temporary item that was always intended to be removed when work on the £1bn regeneration of the city centre got underway.
“Of course, we’d have liked to keep it but, sadly, due to its size and the fact that it’s painted directly on to a brick wall of a building due for demolition, conservation was always going to be impractical and costly to council tax payers.”
Contracts are signed for the city centre regeneration:
But the council plans to make sure the artwork is not forgotten in the future.
“We will preserve memories of the artwork and the contribution it has made to the city centre through photographs which will be available for future use,” the spokesman added.
“Also, the regeneration of the city centre will create significant opportunities for arts commissions, events and culture.”
Swansea Central phase one comprises the 3,500-capacity arena, and an adjacent coastal park. These developments will sit above a large car park.
A new pedestrian bridge over Oystermouth Road will link this site to a new multi-storey car park and a building containing 15 retail units and 36 flats.
It is also a precursor to phase two, which covers an area roughly from St Mary’s Church to the St David’s multi-storey car park and proposes a cinema, restaurants, shops, 100-plus apartments and a large public sector office hub.
The council estimates that the city centre is losing out on nearly £160m a year because people prefer shopping and days out in the likes of Cardiff and Llanelli’s Parc Trostre.
Swansea Council leader Rob Stewart added: “Now phase one of Swansea Central is underway we are turning to prepare for the delivery of Phase 2.
“It will contain a new public sector hub which will be the base for thousands of well paid secure public sector jobs plus new retail shops, restaurants, leisure facilities, a new library and new homes plus a lot more. Full details will be announced in the new year.”