If you, like me, miss out on exciting art openings during the week because you’re held up at work, have a small child to hurry home to or simply don’t feel like fighting the First Thursday throng, try out these Johannesburg art precincts on weekends – with the family fully in tow.
My first stop is usually Keyes Art Mile in Rosebank…
For two Saturdays mid-month, visit Joburg’s newest art precinct, Keys Art Mile, for Art and Design Saturday. Here, you and your family can casually stroll the contemporary art installations that feature up-and-coming artists alongside established pieces by neighbouring galleries, Everard Read and sister gallery, Circa Gallery.
The changing creative line-up includes a curated mix of leading contemporary art galleries, talks by South African artists such as Ashraf Jamal and Sean O’Toole, an emporium highlighting local and international designer wares and collaborations; but most importantly – it’s not at all intimidating when you have a drooling two-year-old draped over your shoulder.
Art and Design Saturday kicks off at 10am and the programme includes local retailers collaborating with featured artists and designers on one-off pieces (available that weekend only). Kids can explore freely and safely while you spend time chatting to that day’s highlighted artist or curator— or catch up on sleep whilst leaning against the ginormous Brett Murray or Michelle Matthison in the foyer.
If sleeping in on Sunday morning is something of the past, jump in the car and head to Wits Art Museum (WAM) in Braamfontein.
Home to the most extraordinary collection (the largest in Africa) of over 12 500 pieces of art from West and Southern Africa, WAM is the perfect stop for a cultural fix on a Sunday morning with your family. Stroll the comprehensive collection that spans over eight decades, with pieces ranging from Irma Stern, Gerard Sekota, Edoardo Villa and Gladys Mgudlandlu, to name a few.
Open from Wednesday to Sunday, 10am to 4pm, this iconic landmark is a mere three blocks away from Nelson Mandela Bridge – i.e in walking distance to hip coffee bars in Braamfontein; a perfect escape (or means of procrastination) from the usual weekly grocery run. Designed by architects Fiona Garson and Nina Cohen, the light-filled multi-story space features terrazzo ramps that lead effortlessly from one art-filled room to another.
If you find yourself in that neck of the woods during the week, be sure to tick off contemporary institutions like Stevenson Gallery and Kalashnikovv Gallery too, who similarly feature noteworthy exhibitions and represented artists.