25 February 2013 by Ems Tsotetsi

Art with a difference

When you visit South Africa, make sure you pop in at any of its non-profit art galleries and studios, which play an important role in upliftment projects.

Ntomboxolo, Ntombi, Nosabelo and Nwabisa at Moonbasket studio. Image courtesy of Moonbasket studio

The word art is synonymous with South Africa: there are art galleries and studios spread across the country, offering a glimpse of the incredible talent South Africa has.

Realising the importance of expressing oneself but lacking the tools and the know-how has been a tough challenge for young, disadvantaged artists. Various non-profit art galleries and studios have taken it upon themselves to cater for the needs of these people, and programmes have been established and integrated into disadvantaged communities to help train and offer a support system.

Art with a difference is what I call it. These studios and galleries help create an awareness of art, offer training, assist artists and nurture their talents. Here are a few to visit:

Spaza Art Gallery, Johannesburg
Spaza Art Gallery is a non-profit organisation showcasing paintings, drawings, recycled work, and many other art pieces. These art pieces are produced by artists from around the country. The gallery hosts Sunday lunches, music, as well as mosaic workshops.

Artist Proof Studio, Johannesburg
This studio is located in the Newton Cultural Precinct. It is involved in a number of projects that include skills-transfer and exchange programmes. It also trains a large number of talented learners from disadvantaged backgrounds, equipping them with the necessary tools to become professional artists.

Art with a difference is what I call it. These studios and galleries help create an awareness of art, offer training, assist artists and nurture their talents.

Assemblage Newtown Artist Run Centre, Johannesburg
Assemblage opened the Newtown Artist Run Centre and Studios (NewARC) in April 2012, with the aim of creating a support system for artists who have an interest in visual arts. Various events are held here, including exhibitions, open studio events and art talks.

artEC, Port Elizabeth
artEC is a community art centre that aims to create an awareness of art in the Eastern Cape. It provides artists with venue hire, training and exhibition opportunities, and also hosts workshops and evening talks for those who appreciate art and want to learn more.

Fractal, Bloemfontein
Working closely with the Oliewenhuis Museum, Fractal promotes art among the young people of Bloemfontein. By running productions, workshops and exhibitions, it also educates the general public on various issues concerning art.


Large hemp spiral shade. Image courtesy of Moonbasket studio


Moonbasket, Western Cape
Moonbasket was established in 2010. It produces luxurious crochet items made mainly from natural and locally produced material. Moonbasket helps support underprivileged women from Khayelitsha township in Cape Town.

The AVA Gallery, Cape Town
AVA’s Artreach Fund assists visual artists by helping with exhibition expenses and studio rentals, as well as providing education programmes.

BAT Centre is non-profit centre funded by the Bartel Arts Trust. It exhibits temporary shows by young, mainly black artists. It has two galleries, one of which showcases first-time artists and the other more established artists. The centre has a café and overlooks the harbour.

The gallery supports young up-and-coming artists and is involved in community outreach initiatives.

Category: Arts & Entertainment

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