Cape Town is designing a culture of the creative commute. First, a free taxi as a social experiment, and now an art bus as a creative intervention.
With the support of the National Lottery, the ever active Greatmore Studios have recently initiated a programme that takes art all over Cape Town, especially to areas it doesn’t usually reach. This active NGO is based in Woodstock, an area increasingly recognised for its contributions to Cape Town culture and design.
As a fortnightly treat, The Art Tours will take place every second Friday with specially modified buses replete with screens, projectors and sound facilities. Visiting galleries, project spaces and studios, passengers will be able to hop out and enjoy 15-20 minutes at each destination. The bus is both a “mobile gallery” and a for-hire, pop-up (or pop around the block) function space.
The idea is borrowed from Community Transport buses in countries like Panama, India, Philippines, India and Haiti. As part of a rural outreach programme, the Art Tour will bring visitors to Greatmore studios and other inspiring art spaces.
The project hinges off the Greatwalk in July, when artists collaborated with the Greatmore Street community (in which the gallery is situated). Residents’ homes opened up to the public and became living, temporary galleries. Visitors were also treated to guided bus tours through the area.
The inspiration to encourage further cultural immersion beyond sanctioned public spaces offers an authentic and unusual way to experience the city, a practise that is currently in vogue with projects like Coffeebeans Routes , Secret City Project and On A Thumb And A Prayer. The difference, of course, between a trend, a fashion and an institution is its depth and delivery. Given positive public support, projects like this can ultimately become institutions in and of themselves, ones that support the kind of “Alternative Tourism” initiatives that answer and embody the Urban Renewal Program proposed by the City of Cape Town.
Contextualising the programme in 2010 and into the future, Greatmore gave its views on the vision going forward in the wake of the World Cup and an apparent unfolding of integrative arts exercises.
“As a living, breathing entity, Cape Town’s social eco-system has undergone a profound awakening post-World Cup and it seems the exponential cross-pollination of culture, history, art and music will continue to serve as conduits to the City’s progression to a first-class destination for all the people of the world.”
Hop on the Art bus and let creativity drive you…