The V&A Waterfront expands opportunities for creatives

In a boost for artists and the arts and culture sector, the V&A Waterfront is establishing the V&A Waterfront Artist Alliance, an arts incubation and development programme for fresh young creative talent.

The programme aims to provide ongoing support for young artists, and follows on from the success the V&A has achieved with its other incubator programmes such as the Buskers Programme and, more recently, the Makers Landing incubation programme.

The new incubator programme will focus on fine arts, film, illustration and design through a partnership with Between10and5 to run the incubation programme. They will invite artists to apply, and also be involved in the selection of final participants. The Bubblegum Club will be the programme’s creative partner.

The programme expands and builds on the Waterfront’s existing Busker incubation programme for performing artists as well as its Arts in Public Places (AiPP) programme, which will now fall under the new umbrella programme called the V&A Waterfront Artist Alliance.

“Between 10and5 has long been in the business of showcasing creative talent and it is an honour to take hands with The V&A Waterfront and not only showcase, but also grow and develop talent through the Artist Alliance initiative. Giving real opportunities to young creators and makers is our passion and an area of our business that is growing. We’re grateful for the opportunity to unite our expertise with the V&A Waterfront and Artist Alliance and to make a change for good in an industry we love,” said Annel Malan from Between 10and5.

Jamal Nxedlana from Bubblegum Club explained, “There is a prevailing feeling among young Cape Town based creatives that most initiatives and support programmes are based in Joburg, therefore, gaining access to them means moving to the big city. This is why we are especially proud to be a part of the team helping to bring the Artist Alliance initiative to life, and in doing so are spotlighting exciting Cape Town based talent.”

The V&A Waterfront Artist Alliance connects creativity with commerce. The initiative is the precursor to a thriving creative community that leverages business opportunities from the surrounding community, and creates shared value for everyone – from artists themselves to the V&A Waterfront, its tenants and other business partners.

Expanding on the V&A Waterfront Artist Alliance vision, V&A Waterfront Marketing Executive Tinyiko Mageza said, “Art is not just for mansions. Artists need spaces and places to amplify their voice, and public spaces need art to expand cultural awareness, stimulate the imagination, and provoke dialogue. But first young creatives need a nurturing ecosystem. They need a safe space in which they can easily access information, develop essential business skills, and connect with other like-minded creatives, markets and industry leaders.

“Through the mentorship and incubation programme the V&A Waterfront Artist Alliance wants to bring creative young people, ideas and ingenuity together to get creative juices flowing. It’s a symbiotic relationship in which emerging artists receive mentoring from creative industry leaders based at the Waterfront, they also have access to our Waterfront business community, which in turn will have access to fresh young creative talent.

The V&A Waterfront Artist Alliance incubator programme

The V&A Waterfront Artist Alliance incubator programme is designed to give 10 incubatees practical experience and skills across the five creative disciplines (fine art, photography, film, illustration, and design). Five creative industry leaders will be selected to mentor the two students who best fit their discipline and experience.

The young creatives who have been selected will receive essential business skills such as
Marketing, pitching for new business and running social media platforms.

Applications are open to anyone who is based in Cape Town and aged between 18 and 30.

Anyone wishing to apply will be required to submit a portfolio of their work, including a motivational letter or video. The submission should include a biography or summative description as well as a few images of the applicant and their work.

All submitted proposals will be assessed by a curator panel.

The two-month long incubator programme combines online sessions with mentors as well as group dialogues. Mentors will play a supportive role by sharing their own experiences and industry-specific knowledge, alongside industry experts who will conduct the main curriculum sessions which will include business and marketing.

The programme will showcase selected works from successful participants after they have graduated from the incubator programme.

Submissions for the first programme will open from 1 July to 31 July, and successful candidates will be selected by early August 2021. The programme will run from the beginning of September through to the end of October.

To apply, interested candidates can visit here to access the application form. Or, if they do not have internet access at home, they can pop into the e-hub computer centre at the V&A Waterfront’s offices in Dock Road.