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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 https://www.waterfront.co.za/artist-alliance-live-art-be-heard/ 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.


About the V&A Waterfront Artist Alliance partners



Digital publishing company Between 10and5 publishes a daily website at 10and5.com that serves as a curated online showcase of the best that the South African creative industry has to offer across a broad range of categories: graphic design, advertising, illustration, art, fashion, film, photography and music.

Bubblegum Club


Bubblegum Club is a cultural organisation based in Johannesburg with a multi-faceted approach of working across platforms and mediums. They have collaborated on a diverse array of projects, using their creative skills to pursue a dynamic range of objectives. As content producers they are regularly involved in creating and curating original, innovative culture. With their digital publication they give a voice to cutting edge creatives from around the world. They also work with brands and organisations to help them interpret and connect with youth culture.

Feedback from V&A Waterfront Artist Alliance mentors

Mr+Mrs Luke (Faatimah and Al Luke)

Why the initiative is relevant and necessary to the creative sector and creatives

· Faatimah: “This initiative allows already talented individuals to learn from skilled and experienced creatives. It gives those who have had a formal creative education and those who have not, access to the same wealth of knowledge. This knowledge allows young creatives to carve a creative and business path for themselves that is intentional and sustainable. One successful creative, directly supports many businesses from raw material suppliers, manufacturers and retail spaces. One successful creative might also employ people and further share skills and knowledge. This initiative gives young creatives an incredible advantage but also benefits so many industries in addition.”

· Al: “In every creative’s journey they will inevitably get to the point where they decide to take the leap to either freelance full time or open their own space. A programme like this will give creatives access and insight into exactly what they need to grow and make their journey a success, positively influencing the next generation of creative minds. This programme will also give creatives confidence, knowing that they have a support network of creatives in their corner cheering them on.”

Why, as experienced creatives, mentors want to participate in the programme

· Faatimah: “I believe that it is the responsibility of those who have experience and knowledge, to share their knowledge with those who seek it. Sharing my journey with young creatives allows them to learn from my path, triumphs and mistakes. Knowing what the creative landscape entails, allows them to carve out a path that works for them, and also create new ways of doing that doesn’t currently exist. I am excited to share what I’ve learned in the art and design industries and am also looking forward to learning and seeing from a different perspective.”

· Al: “I really feel that as experienced creatives our journey and experience will act as a positive sounding board for a younger generation of creatives and entrepreneurs, helping to guide and also support them as they become the future of the creative industry.”

About the V&A Waterfront’s Art in Public Places platform for creatives

When people are drawn to a public space – be it by a musician playing music, an intriguing sculpture or a colourful mural – they breathe life into that space and give birth to new cultural experiences. Through the V&A’s Art in Public Places (AiPP) programme the Waterfront is creating vibrant, accessible and colourful public spaces.

The most obvious example of the arts at the Waterfront is the iconic Zeitz MOCAA. The reimagined conversion of the historic grain silo into a contemporary African art museum is a work of art in its own right while the inspiring collections, exhibitions and education programmes make it the most significant cultural development on the continent since the Cairo Museum over 100 years ago.

But creativity abounds throughout the Waterfront neighbourhood, from carefully curated, bespoke craft and design products available at the Watershed, to the unique festive season decorations that greet visitors in the build-up to December. Since 2019 the Waterfront has commissioned 140 talented African artisans to create decorations from recycled and recyclable materials to fit the theme, ‘Joy from Africa to the World’. The campaign is a collaboration with local crafters to celebrate and tell their design stories, and about sustainably repurposing and reusing materials to recycle them.

More recently, graphic designer and textile artist Bonolo Chepape and photographer and creative strategist Cole Ndelu collaborated to design the creative for the new Makers Landing logo which was unveiled at the public opening of the venue late last year.

The AiPP programme features a growing number of large artworks and outdoor sculptures that can be found at a number of open spaces around the property. The sculptures are jointly curated by the V&A Waterfront and Zeitz MOCAA to celebrate sculpture as an art form. Visitors will also notice a mushrooming of colourful murals and graffiti commissioned by the Waterfront to adorn large outdoor spaces.

A recently completed mural is by local artist Nadia ‘Nardstar’ Fischer, who was commissioned to paint a mural symbolising the V&A Waterfront’s octopus garden in the Portswood precinct, adjacent to their Dock Road offices. The urban food garden supplies The Homestead NPO with nutritious herbs and vegetables, and are used to prepare meals for the homeless. Nadia has described the theme of her mural as reflecting “the values and goals of the Waterfront’s food sustainability programme: the sharing of tools and resources and working collectively as a community to create sustainable local food industry practices.”

The performing arts of music, dance and theatrics also have their platform. For almost 25 years buskers have been a distinct feature of the Waterfront. Local singers, dancers, mimes, illusionists and more have all become synonymous with the Waterfront, and the busker programme creates a platform for them to showcase their talent, earn an income and receive exposure.

The busker programme provides training and mentoring, and helps the buskers to develop their craft. 96% of the 160 buskers on the programme are the primary source of income in their families. To support them during lockdown, the Waterfront hosted monthly online fundraising entertainment programmes featuring well known popular singers and comedians. Although the events were free, audiences had the option to donate funds. The monies raised were given to the buskers, along with cash grants and month food parcels to assist them during lockdown.

The Waterfront has also been the driving force behind initiatives such as 100 Beautiful Things on social media platforms, which has invited people from across the country to shine a spotlight on beautiful objects, designs or inventions across the country.

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