People’s Gallery supports emerging artists

Franklin Koopman commutes 150km every day to the University of Stellenbosch for a BA Visual Arts degree.

An innovative new project is being launched in the Riebeek Valley, that will see disadvantaged artists from the local community being provided with a platform to showcase and sell their art works alongside the many established artists who reside in the valley.

The People’s Gallery is a community outreach initiative which is part of a new event called “Solo Studios – Intimate Art Encounters”, taking place for the first time over the last weekend of July.

“The People’s Gallery provides a platform for emerging and aspiring artists, and for those who engage in the arts on a part time basis,” explains Klaus Piprek, who is the organiser and driving force.

Solo Studios is a collaboration between artists, art curators and galleries based in the area, and has been created to provide an opportunity for art lovers, buyers and collectors to visit artists in their studios to view and buy their art – and 25 percentof the proceeds from Solo Studios will be going to an Arts Development Trust, which will manage and fund a sustainable growth programme for The People’s Gallery – providing an ongoing outlet for the artworks from this community.

Priority is given to people from disadvantaged communities, many of whom have exceptional talent, but who, through challenging circumstances, have not had the opportunities to develop their skills or to benefit financially.

While the long term plan is to make The People’s Gallery a permanent feature in Riebeek Valley, initially it will be a “pop-up” offering situated in the Riebeek Valley Tourism Office for the Solo Studios weekend.

“One of the artists, Franklin Koopman, discovered his preference for art at an early age” explains Mr Piprek.

“When he completed Grade 12 in 2015, and motivated by his father, and with the assistance of the family for which his mother works as a domestic helper, Franklin enroll-ed at the University of Stellenbosch for a BA Visual Arts (Fine Arts) degree – and he commutes 150km daily between Riebeek Kasteel and Stellenbosch by taxi and train to attend classes.”

Franklin’s exhibition, called “Expressions”, depicts how people view life in different manners.

Tickets for Solo Studio come in the form of a “Passport” which will cover entry to all of the participating artists and galleries over the full weekend period. Visit www.solostudios.co.za, and tickets are available at Webtickets