During the mid 20th century, The Glamorgan College of Education located in the town, was at the heart of the internationally renowned Barry Summer school.
It espoused pioneering new approaches to art and education and attracted pupils and iconic artists from all over the world including Tom Hudson, George Brecht, Robin Page, John Epstein, Jazz musician Larry Adler and today’s Royal Academy artist Terry Setch.
Around 750 students attended the school, over two busy fortnights. Sculpture was taught by Tom Hudson, Kenneth Martin and Harry Thubron along with many assistants who were professional artists. Pottery was taught by Dan Arbeid and Louis Hanssen from the Central School of Arts and Crafts, London. Textiles was taught by Ann Sutton (now a Professor and MBE). Painting teachers included Michael Kidner, Jeffrey Steele and Bert Isaac. This is only a fraction of the faculty and the media taught. Other subjects included photography, leatherwork, woodwork, puppetry, drama, stage management and music.
They aimed to teach all levels, from all backgrounds, together, and believed that by working creatively side by side, the amateur and professional would benefit and help each other. Tom Hudson’s impact is clear on looking at the art exhibition on the lawn – produced in two weeks through his teaching and the students’ efforts in construction and fabrication.
The Summer School went from strength to strength in the mid 60s, requiring a new hostel to be built. Leslie Moore, the Vice Principal of the College and Organiser of Arts and Crafts for Glamorgan, ensured that the growing numbers did not affect the quality of the course, continuing to offer a wide variety of arts and crafts classes taught by the best teachers available anywhere.
Barry has a busy programme of annual events ranging from open-air cinema, triathlons, Gwyl Fach y Fro and artist-led events.