The Grahamstown Foundation’s Arts Education department runs several Festivals throughout South Africa. The project serves to ignite a passion for South African arts and develop artists, and arts consumers with a culture of ‘paying for the arts’. The two-day regional festivals are designed with Grade Elevens in mind and include the National Schools Festival Series (Mpumalanga, Limpopo, North West, Free State, Northern Cape, Eastern Cape, Western Cape KwaZulu Natal and Gauteng). The National Schools Festival is a five-day festival which gathers matric students from all around the Country to take part in an intensive programme of the Arts.
Self-expression and bridge-building between individuals and communities are focal points while platforms for performance encourage audiences to engage with the best South Africa has to offer encouraging emerging artists to discover and develop their own artistic skills. Some 6,000+ participants benefit from these festivals nationally over the period of a year. The need is evident from the enormous demand by schools. Participants from across a wide economic divide get to literally ‘rub shoulders’ because the projects attract large numbers of participants from the most rural schools to the most wealthy.
Opportunities to engage with diverse arts experiences is rare, as are opportunities for artistic performance and assessment. The festivals expose the youth to professional work and hands-on workshop experiences with artists. They also engage with intellectuals in lectures and demonstrations. Professionals are drawn from national experts committed to establishing a creative nurturing ground and a sustainable arts industry.
Our educational objectives are to supplement the often under-funded and under-resourced arts and culture components of school curricula recognised as essential to holistic education, by submerging learners in an intensive arts experience that is absent in schools. We further aim to expose learners to a range of genres, arts opportunities and career options while encouraging them to further explore opportunities in the arts.
The result is audience development and creative impact: The festivals give a range of productions exposure to an emerging audience of arts consumers, and engage with all arts disciplines through hands-on workshops and interactive lectures.
We are a Project of the Grahamstown Foundation