Bill Ainslie’s School extended beyond the Art Foundation. The Alexandra Arts Centre was established in 1986 in Alexandra, Johannesburg. Bill helped start FUBA (Federated Union of Black Artists), FUNDA (means ‘Learn’ in Xhosa), and the Alexandra Arts Centre.The Alexandra Motswedi Centre is trying to the revive arts in Alexandra! They will have High School learners in the Township honing their talents in Theater, music and drawing. The project targets young people in Alex!
Vivienne Abrahams-Aliveriotis, the founder of 'Art with Africa", plans to start working with the learners to identify and develop their talents. She will be helped by Gwen Rabothata, the manager of the Alexsan Kopano Resource Centre.
Art with the Art Africa is an organisation designed to heal and inspire vulnerable and poverty stricken children in rural and urban areas. “We are embarking on various holistic programmes within Alexandra township, bringing art classes to Schools that do not offer art as a subject. This is a joint initiative with the Alexsan Kopano Resource Centre [San Kopano] and the Alexandra Chamber of Commerce to run programs for the Centenary Festival in Alex in 2012,” she says. Abrahams-Aliveriotis believes that apart from giving a child a brush, a pencil or a stage, her organisation will use art to identify childhood problems and vulnerable children who might need healing. It will also identify career paths that can be followed up and identify and develop talent that might be hidden.
In September, Art with the Art Africa was launched at the Soweto Festival, showcasing various crafts from locals. “As custodians of the arts,” she says, “our work encompasses the sustainability and promotion of various art forms within the arts and crafts fraternity representing multi-disciplines.”
She would like to see Alex producing artists, be it in the music industry, theater, drama, dancing, painting or drawing. “I intend to adopt schools in the township to teach diagnostic art classes with a difference.”
The organisation also aims to facilitate art groups with children from informal settlements and street kids, with the view of diagnosing problems through careful assessment of their drawings and painting with the help of an educational psychologist.
"Alex has produced talented young singers in the past years, there is plenty of singing talent in Alex!"
Abrahams-Aliveriotis is also the steering committee head of Global Zone, an organisation that intends bringing the Youth Global Warming Summit to South Africa in 2012. As such she is working on raising awareness through creating art programmes addressing environmental issues.
Art with the Art Africa is also a member of the Gauteng Organisation of Community Arts and Culture Centres (GOMACC), which prides itself on creating arts sectors that contribute to National development. Formed in 2003, GOMACC is a non-profit organisation based in Newtown, which broadly aims to develop capacity and build a network of community art centres and practitioners that enable the centres to function effectively and deliver arts programmes. It has facilitators on the ground working on arts education programmes in performing and visual arts within local communities. GOMACC believes public art centres are important in that they provide a meaningful space for the social life of local communities to be developed and strengthened; attract investment, create employment and skills development opportunities for locals; provide residents with a place where their diverse cultures can be explored and celebrated; and a place where artistic talent can be identified and nurtured.
Abrahams-Aliveriotis’ passion for Alex started in the early 1990's when she would visit the Township, which lacks proper sewerage systems and is deeply over-crowded – with poverty “that just jumped at you”. Alexandra, fondly called Alex or Dark City, is just a hop, skip and jump from the affluent Sandton suburb, north of the CBD. It’s known for being over-crowded and underdeveloped and for its swelling shack settlements, untarred roads, and lack of sewerage systems and street lights.
The Area, which dates back to 1912, as a whole includes Old Alexandra and the relatively new areas of the East Bank, Far East Bank, Marlboro Industrial, Wynberg, Kew and Marlboro Gardens.
Alex has produced artists such as Caiphus Semenya; Hugh Masekela; Simon Nkabinde, who is better known as Mahlathini; and Condry Ziqubu.
28° 5' 6", -26° 6' 54"