The V&A Waterfront opens doors for young talent

The V&A Waterfront Artist Alliance, an arts incubation and development programme aimed at Cape Town’s fresh young creative talent looking for a mentorship platform, is calling for new applications for its next cohort of young artists.

Launched in 2021, and seeing the success of its original alumni, some of whose works can be seen in the Waterfront’s public space and marketing campaigns, the program returns with its vision to support creatives to reach their full potential.

“Young creatives in South Africa play an important role in contributing towards the country’s broader economy, yet face numerous economic challenges including lack of opportunities to learn, to exhibit their works, financial and copyright challenges, and lack of support to grow their craft. the Artist Alliance programme aims to address these challenges, says V&A Waterfront Marketing Executive Tinyiko Mageza.

“With the success of 2021 programme, we have drawn insights to provide an incubation programme that not only benefits the creatives as they pursue their business journeys but also benefit our business and the broader V&A Waterfront ecosystem.”

Illustration by Mbali Manzini, Artist Alliance 2023 ambassador

According to Mageza, Artist Alliance brings together true African ideas, artistic collaboration in a safe space that allows the emerging artists to receive personal mentoring from creative industry leaders as well as providing access to the Waterfront business community.

The V&A Waterfront Artist Alliance incubator programme

The programme gives six incubatees practical experience and skills across the six creative disciplines with one creative selected per discipline.

  1. Illustration
  2. Graphic Design
  3. Music Production
  4. Videography
  5. Fine Art
  6. Animation

Richard Average, Mbhali Manzizi and Nqaba Mbolekwana – the Artist Alliance 2023 ambassadors

Three Artist Alliance alumni have been selected as the Artist Alliance ambassadors and will be on hand to provide mentorship as well as share their own experiences of the programme.

  • Nqaba Mbolekwana: Photographer (multi-disciplinary)
  • Mbhali Manzini: Illustrator and Painter
  • Richard Average: Illustrator

The six-month long incubation 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 learning and marketing.

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

Creative Nestlings, an organisation committed to helping young artists get discovered, is a key partner in collaborating with the V&A Waterfront on Artist Alliance.  Dillion Phiri, Creative & Strategic Director for Creative Nestlings said that as fellow creatives who began our journey in Cape Town, Creative Nestlings intimately grasps the challenges and opportunities for creative entrepreneurs in this city.

“That’s why our partnership with V&A Waterfront, a prominent entity within the creative and cultural industries, for the Artist Alliance programme is an obvious choice. We recognise the crucial role of such platforms as springboards and catalysts for creatives, helping to refine their work, navigate the business side, and foster a supportive community. Moreover, we understand the immense value of creatives in society – how they contribute to GDP growth, job creation, and the building of better, more vibrant societies,” adds Phiri.

Artist Alliance Applications

Artists aged between 18 and 30 who are based in Cape Town and 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.

Submissions for the first programme will open from 1 June to 31 July 2023, and successful candidates will be selected by early September 2023. The programme will run from the beginning of September through to the end of October.

To apply, interested candidates can visit to access the application form. Or, if they do not have internet access at home, they can come to the V&A Waterfront’s offices in Dock Road.