Wales

Banksy to be centrepiece of Port Talbot street art museum

John Brandler at the Banksy in Port Talbot
Image caption Owner John Brandler said the new museum will bring thousands of visitors to the town

A Banksy artwork which appeared on a garage in Port Talbot will be part of an international street art museum in the town, the work's owner has said.

John Brandler, who purchased Season's Greetings for a "six-figure sum" in January, will display the work in a new gallery in the centre of the town.

He said the facility, which will feature work from around the world, will open later this year.

Deputy culture minister Lord Dafydd Elis-Thomas confirmed the move.

Mr Brandler said the museum, called SAM (Street Art Museum), will be just the sixth of its kind in the world and the first in the UK.

It will be located at a recently renovated building in Ty'r Orsaf, opposite Port Talbot Parkway railway station.

Image copyright Scott Bamsey
Image caption The graffiti artwork appeared on Ian Lewis's garage in December

He said: "It's going to be an international museum of street art. I'm talking to a couple of other artists who are among the same level as Banksy.

"The aim is to get people off the motorway and into the town, spending money."

He estimates 100,000 to 150,000 people will visit the museum every year.

The museum will feature Season's Greetings and other works by Banksy, as well as pieces from Swansea-based street artist Pure Evil and French graffiti artist Blek le Rat.

Mr Brandler said the work will remain in the town for at least three years and the museum will be free to local people and under-16s, but tourists will pay to see the collection.

"Banksy gave this piece to Port Talbot so people who live here don't have to pay to go to see it," he said.

"The idea is that tourists pay and then the money will be split between the museum, council and local charities."

Image caption Former steelworker Ian Lewis found the artwork on his garage in December

He added the piece would "not have stood the passage of time" if it had remained in its original location - on steelworker Ian Lewis's garage in the Taibach area of the town.

The move was confirmed in a letter from Lord Elis-Thomas to Bethan Sayed AM on Tuesday, saying the move to the town centre was the "preferred option" of the Welsh Government.

He estimated it will take about five weeks for the work to be cut out of the garage and taken its new home in the town centre.

Neath Port Talbot council said it was pleased to see the Welsh Government taking a lead on the project, adding it would help secure the artwork's future for three years.

"The new proposals have a huge potential to help deliver on the economic regeneration and tourism ambitions of everyone involved," the council said in a statement.

"However, no final decisions have yet been made and any progress will be largely dependent on further investment and support from the Welsh Government."

As many as 20,000 people visited the work on Mr Lewis's garage after it was painted in December, before it was bought by Mr Brandler a month later.

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