16 February 2003
Twenty-five years since the formation of the Community Arts Project (CAP) and the subsequent separation of its offspring, Mediaworks, in 1996, the two organisations have made a historic decision to join forces once again to form South Africa’s first Media and Arts Centre based in Cape Town’s inner-city central improvement district. The centre is to be an innovative model in the field of culture, communication and development in the context of broader efforts to promote urban renewal and integrated rural development.
Mediaworks and CAP emerged out of the oppositional arts and media movement of the 70’s and 80’s. Both organizations share a common vision to empower marginalized communities through art, drama and the media and have 40-years of collective experience in providing accessible and professional training opportunities to marginalized communities in a range of media and arts disciplines. In acknowledgement of this expertise, the two organisations have recently been selected to pilot two learnerships for CreateSA, a partnership between MAPPP-Seta and the Department of Arts and Culture.
We believe that by bringing together our expertise and resources we can serve marginalized and under-resourced communities more effectively by offering a fuller range of services cutting across the related arts and media disciplines. By coming together to form a "creative hub" we aim to provide a vehicle for communication and cultural expression by ordinary people who live in and around Cape Town. Equally importantly, the centre will function as a development hub for community media and arts centres in the Northern, Western and Eastern Cape.
The Media and Arts Centre will be based in the Sachs Futeran Building, which was recently acquired by the District 6 Museum Trust. The three-story building, which includes a historic church and extensive warehousing space, will also house the offices of the District 6 Beneficiary Trust (responsible for the redevelopment of the District 6 area) as well as the new archive, performance and exhibition spaces of the museum. It is hoped that a synergistic relationship between the Community Media and Arts Centre and the Museum will ensure that the culture and heritage of the region is developed, conserved and given creative expression through community arts and media.
The building is part of the new cultural precinct emerging in the heart of the city centre in Buitenkant Street, close to other important cultural spaces such as the City Hall and the Castle. Similar initiatives to develop inner city cultural precincts can be found at the Newtown Cultural Precinct in Johannesburg, the BAT Centre in Durban and indeed, in many major cities around the world where cultural organizations play an important role in reclaiming and rejuvenating disused inner-city spaces.
The merger process, which will be completed by the end of 2003, includes research into international examples of best practice, consultation and restructuring.