Over the past 50 years, The African Art Centre has worked with some of the most economically disadvantaged people, who have limited access to capital, technology and resources. We have reached out to the poorest communities, rural men and women, the disabled, the unemployed, youth, HIV/AIDS affected persons and fine artists yearning for recognition.
People living in rural communities, especially women shoulder the burden of poverty and are often deprived of benefitting from participating in long term opportunities and profiting from economic growth. The African Art Centre provides creative art and craft skills development training for groups of female and male crafters from rural KwaZulu Natal. Our programmes aim to encourage and nurture works of creativity, originality and of the highest quality and to assist both young and established crafters to become self-supporting by means of pertinent training, mentorship and development and continued evaluation and communication. Our interventions make long term and sustainable changes in the lives of our beneficiaries, augment crafter capacity, produce new cultural entrepreneurs and improve and strengthen already established cultural entrepreneurs in the region. Our development programmes increase the sales of craft products in mainstream retail markets (via our shop and gallery, trade fairs and exhibitions) and assist in building the identity of genuine craft from KwaZulu Natal. In addition, our development programmes and initiatives increase consumer awareness of distinct hand-crafted traditions.
The overall objective of our development plan is to provide exceptional sustainable community development support to poor communities and to enable them to undertake sustainable community development action resulting in their improved standard of living. Many women living in KwaZulu Natal face a number of issues including a high poverty rate, low educational qualifications, and inadequate provision of basic needs services. Our development programmes impact on women advancement, provide markets for locally produced goods, provide employment opportunities and stimulate rural economy.