The owners of The Studio Art Gallery want to make the world of art more accessible to the public but, more than that, they want to showcase and develop the talents of local artists.
The gallery, now based at Harbour Bay Centre in Simon’s Town, is a space that co-owners Lindy and Mark Alexander use to give artists a platform for their work to be seen by the greater public. They have showcased the works of many local artists and have assisted local emerging artists to enter the industry.
Mark says: “About 90% of the artwork in the gallery are from artists living in the peninsula.
“The peninsula gathers a lot of artists – and good quality artists,” Lindy says.
“A lot of the artists come from Scarborough,” Mark adds.
The gallery boasts artists such as Chris Bladen and Richard Gunston who both reside in Fish Hoek.
The Alexanders also aim to assist organisations in the community through their annual charity exhibition for Mandela Day, “where all our artists who have exhibited at the gallery contribute six pieces. Then we choose a local organisation – last year we chose the False Bay Hospital,” Mark says, explaining the idea behind the Mandela Day Block Art Exhibition.
Lindy adds: “This year we did it for the iThemba School in Fish Hoek. We want to connect with the community as much as possible.” In line with their spirit of making connections and developing talent, they have launched a project which they hope to build on in the future. “We started our art academy on a Monday,” says Lindy.
“The art academy is part of our 10-year plan at the gallery. We want to build a proper art school on the peninsula.
“We will get proper corporate social investment (CSI) funding to sponsor less privileged artists or young people that we find in the community who show potential. This gallery is kind of a stepping stone towards that,” Mark explains.
There are currently 36 budding artists in the academy, which takes place once a week when the gallery is turned into a studio.
They also try to get the creative juices flowing at a young age by encouraging teachers to bring their young learners on tours of the gallery, and for workshops.
The Winter Life Group Exhibition is another one of the gallery’s annual exhibitions – a nationwide search for new talent.
“Each year we refresh our entire gallery’s exhibition space with a new selection of South African artwork. We also choose four outstanding artists from this selection to represent permanently,” reads the website. It takes place every year during August and September.
This exhibition – and those throughout the year – offer a unique opportunity to artists who will receive marketing and artistic guidance from the gallery, empowering them to pursue their careers in art.