Veterans and the Community Join Forces through Art

A HAVERFORDWEST military artist who left the Army to focus on community arts is encouraging people to get behind his project.

Barry John MBE was a serving member of the Royal Welsh Regiment for 24 years until the end of last year.

In December the 40-year-old father-of-two left the Army to set-up The VC Gallery – a small independent charity bringing together veterans and the community through art.

The charity, which is based at a studio at the back of Dark Street, has been growing steadily since it was set up in January.

veterans art

Barry’s vision is to bring together people from all walks of life “under the guise of art”.

“We keep each other company, we enjoy each other’s company – it’s about socialising, community spirit and art,” said Barry.

“It’s about bringing art into the community and getting people engaged in art. Anybody can come and join us.”

The studio is a haven for those people wanting to take a different approach to art. A traditional landscape painting with ‘boring’ spray painted across the canvas hangs on the wall and some of Barry’s latest landscape paintings feature a red sea, blue land and green sky – something he calls “being brave” with colour .

“It’s about getting creative, getting back to having fun with art and not worrying about techniques,” he added.

“People ask for a rubber and I say, ‘We don’t do rubbers here, your mistake is exactly what we’re after’.”

The VC Gallery also runs sessions for children and young people which Barry particularly enjoys.

“They really engage with the artistic process,” he said. “They are very, very expressive in colour, they have no limitations.

“Great artists have always said they wish they could have that same kind of approach.

“Artists get technical as they get older but to use that colour with such bravery is extraordinary.”

For more information go to ‘The VC Gallery’ Facebook page or email

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