It intends to create a unique and celebrated space in South Africa’s arts landscape and to use it as a catalyst for economic growth, as well as social and cultural development.
Emthonjeni Arts is aimed at regenerating the area and turning it into a niche tourism destination with a central focus on art and the development of local artists. The artist retreat is now nearing final completion. The site for the residency was chosen as part of the development of a spatial development framework for the whole town.
It is on a north-facing brow of a hill overlooking the Keiskamma River and estuary and slightly shielded from the prevailing winds from the sea. Its location has been strategically chosen to promote further development around it and around developing Hamburg as an Arts town.
The vision of the retreat is to provide a creative space for local and international artists to develop and perfect their craft in a special environment. The retreat periods will be linked to other major art events such as the Grahamstown National Arts Festival.
Sustainability of the retreat will be ensured through strategic partnerships with stakeholders by, among other things establishing an endowment fund, scholarship or bursary sponsors to ensure residencies for artists, and the establishment of an Artists' Ambassadorial Network.
Further, the retreat will take advantage of the existing art and craft space which was created by the Keiskamma Trust. The retreat will enable the development of an innovative niche market for the economic regeneration of Hamburg while simultaneously developing the infrastructure and promoting the tourism sector in the area.
The facility goes beyond professional artists by also offering arts training courses and programmes for school children who wish to develop in the arts, and accommodation or conference.Artists would be able to enjoy solitude or the opportunity to connect to the local community, Xhosa culture more widely or other residents whilst maintaining connection digitally via fast broadband if desired.
The Residency will also be particularly suited for intensive small arts group’s/company’s training and development programmes within the arts and culture field.
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