Name of the responsible structure : The Godown art center
Type of structure : non for profit association
Profile of the initiators of the project :artistic companies, artists collective
Address : P.O Box 27772-00506, Nairobi, Kenya.
Tel : (254) 020 555227 / 555770
Contact : Ms. Joy Mboya, development director, Ms Jacquie Munene, administrative assistant


The idea of creating a truly Kenyan base to support local artists was initiated in March 2001, by a group drawn from the visual arts, theatre arts, dance and puppetry. In time, the Group expanded to include acrobatics, musicians and film-makers.
As theer was no local reference for the creation of such a center in Kenya or East Africa, a representative of the Group visited several arts centers in the UK, to learn how the facilities has been established, how financial resources were gathered, how programs were developed and sustained, etc. This was very useful research as it enabled the formulation of a center concept, to be tested and adjusted to suit the local Kenyan environment.
Therafter, the Ford Foundation awarded a grant for the acquisition and renovation of aspace for the centre. But the search for a suitable building was not easy. After various possibilities failed - an empty primary school, an old cinema hall, a food-manufacturing warehouse - a huge, unused motor-vehicle warehouse was found, tow years after search began.
In january 2003, a lease agreement was entered into with the multinational car company that owns the property. After nine months of renovation activity, the space was ready for artist organizations to move in.
Curently, the Godown is developing programmatic, governance and fundraising frameworks to help secure its organizational and financial sustainability in the long term.

Former use : moto-vehicule warehouse
Location : industrial area
Foundation year of the centre : 2003
Type of occupation : lease
Owner of the building : a multinational car company

Infrastructures / Facilities

Visual arts studios
rehearsal and performance spaces
offices and workshops
outdoor areas
cafe / restaurant

Social and artistic disciplines

Visual arts
theatre arts

Other structures/organisations resident on the site

Kuona Trust : studios & website development for visual artists
Sarakasi Trust : Acrobatics
Gaara Dance Foundation : contemporary african develpment
Medeva TV Ltd : Film/video creative and technical training
CHAPS : Puppetry as a medium for social messages & as art
Karamu Trust : Developing ‘new voicies’ in Kenyan theatre
Nairobits Trust : Electronic arts opportunities for disadvantaged youth
RAMONA : Promoting Kenyan visual arts, gallery managers
Nairobi City Ensemble : music recording facility
Photo Media Institute : Networking of photographers/ photojournalists

The Godown facilities are also used by non-resident artists and organizations for exhibitions and book launches, workshops and rhearsals.

Financial support

Ford Foudation

Modified on Tuesday 24 May 2005