Association of Arts Pretoria

The Association of Arts has come a long way in promoting the enjoyment of the visual arts in all its forms. It acquired an uncontested place in the art life of Pretoria, the Gauteng Province and in the whole country. The inter-connected art galleries of the Association are situated in the peaceful, picturesque Austin Roberts Park and Sanctuary and are close to the centre of the city and the University of Pretoria. These galleries have become a pivotal part of the local Pretoria and Gauteng art life.

During a current year, the Association hosts about thirty exhibitions. Public attendance of its exhibitions and other art events such as lectures, art classes and workshops is on average 500 to 1000 persons per month. The Arts Association strives for the highest standards. It constantly tries to encourage innovation and exploit new talents. Visit us and see for yourselves

Our aim

  • The Association of Arts wants to promote and support the visual arts in a positive and holistic manner

  • We give artists the opportunity of exhibiting their work to the public

  • We foster awareness of the visual arts among the population as a whole

  • We undertake art projects and we assist artists to develop their skills

Our background?

The S A Association of Arts was founded as the S A Fine Arts Association in Cape Town in 1871. The Southern Transvaal Branch was established in July 1947 and the Northern Transvaal Branch was formed in Pretoria on September 27 of the same year. The moving spirit behind the establishment of the Arts Association and its various branches was High Commissioner Charles te Water, who also became its first president. Its first chairperson was the famous artist Walter Battiss. With Mr Justice J F Marais as chairperson in October 1959, a new era opened for the Pretoria Branch of the S A Association of Arts. He took the major step of obtaining premises for the Association in Polley's Arcade. The Association now had a gallery in the true sense of the word. When the Provincial Administration offered the Old Netherlands Bank Building to the Association in 1963 the gallery was moved. The historic banking hall became a fine gallery with a dignity and an atmosphere all of its own. In this venue the Association had three galleries, namely the large Main Gallery, the Atelier Gallery on the ground floor, and the Upper Gallery on the first floor.  Later, in 1978, the Association occupied the splendid gallery on the 36th floor of the Volkskas Building. The year 1991 heralded the move to the Association’s magnificent gallery in Mackie Street, Nieuw Muckleneuk.

How do we run our affairs?

The Association is a voluntary, non-profit association with a separate legal personality. It is governed by an executive committee, members of which include well-known artists, art teachers and academics and patrons of the arts. The full-time staffs of the Association are Pieter van Heerden, the director, Nandi Hilliard, the gallery manager, and assistants Koni Koma and Dorah Rahlogo. It has more than 800 members and was one of the founding members of the South African National Association for the Visual Arts (SANAVA), the national organisation to co-ordinate and promote the activities of the various local arts associations.