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Home of the Arts turns 75 Article Image

Home of the Arts turns 75

Posted on 13 September 2022

As far back as 1871 the South African Fine Arts Association was founded in Cape Town. In July 1947 the Southern Transvaal branch was started in Johannesburg and later that year, on the 27th of September, the Northern Transvaal branch was formed in Pretoria. In 1997 the latter was renamed as the Association of Arts Pretoria.

In its earliest years it was well supported and assisted by the then Pretoria Technical College (lately the Tshwane University of Technology). Before it had its final home in the current gallery in Mackie Street, it moved between a few venues.

The list of the Association's exhibitors covers all the country's foremost as well as lesser-known painters and sculptors. Literally too many to name. Of interest is the fact that artist Walter Battiss was the Association's very first chairman and that the cornerstone of the current Mackie Street gallery was designed by renowned potter Esias Bosch and revealed on the 30th of November 1990. The Association moved into the gallery in 1991 and its inauguration was on the 3rd of May 1991.

It stands to reason that the three quarter of a century will be gloriously celebrated. Exhibitions already seen in veneration are works of Gunther van Reis and Mike Edwards in April this year and Isa Steynberg - daughter of the late Coert Steynberg - as well as Kieries/Walking Sticks in May 2022.

Other exhibitions in celebration of the seventy-five years are:

  • Artists between the ages of 20 and 40 years (29 July to 20 August 2022)
  • Artists between the ages of 40 and 60 years (2 to 23 September 2022)
  • Artists of 60 years and older (30 September to 22 October 2022)

All these artists' works have been exhibited here at some or other stage, either as part of a group or as solo exhibitor.

Current exhibition - artists between the ages of 40 and 60 years 4

One of the most exciting projects driven by the Pretoria Arts Association is the Nuwe Handtekeninge or Sasol New Signatures Art Competition (sponsored by SASOL since 1990). This competition creates a platform for new and undiscovered artists to kickstart their careers. Many a young talent has benefitted greatly from this.

Equally exciting is the Sunday morning music recitals in the gallery. Attendees find it a wonderful experience to listen to art music whilst being surrounded by the visual arts. Again, the list of performers is too extensive to name here.

The Pretoria Arts Association's aim is to house at least thirty exhibitions per year, whether pottery, sculpture, painting or experimental. Moreover, the venue is used for the launch of books and the staff can be of assistance in the evaluation of art works as well as the restoration of damaged works.

This jewel turning 75 on the 27th of September should be cherished and safeguarded. Anyone can join as member and of course donations and sponsorships are always welcomed. Replenish your soul at this oasis of arts and culture.

Long live the Association of Arts Pretoria.

Visit the website or follow the Association on their Facebook page.

Forthcoming exhibition - 60 Plus artists - Wilma Cruise - Box(ed)

Forthcoming exhibition - 60 Plus artists - Michael Heyns - As visse kon vlieg

Forthcoming exhibition - 60 Plus artists - Annelise Bowker - Legacy

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