I don’t know what my obsession is with choosing my blog post titles from movie titles but it just keeps happening. I really miss my days of being a movie buff. So two Sunday mornings ago I got sent a flyer by a friend for this ‘Open Studio Vibes’ sitch that was happening at some place called Victoria Yards. I’d never been to this place let alone heard of it, but I knew I had to go. As a liker of things I will always try out new things at least four times. Victoria Yards just needed one time to hook me.
It’s situated in Lorentzville towards the east of Johannesburg. Approaching it you can instantly see it’s been redone, repainted and re-energised. I don’t really know what the space was used for before but it seems like the developers (who apparently developed 44 Stanley) wanted to keep it as raw and not overly worked as possible. You can tell by the presence of a lot of exposed brick, minimal painting and rusted iron on the roofing.
The title of ‘Open Studio Vibes’ was just that. The yards are split into a number of studios used by visual artists like Blessing Ngobeni, Dario Manjate (who does magical things with magazine cuttings), controversial painter Ayanda Mabulu and artisanal artists like Tshepo The Jeanmaker and Hélène, an interesting jeweler who has moved here from France. More studios are available for anyone wanting to rent the space to work, create, sell and even teach.
Surrounding the grounds are vegetable and orchid gardens planted as part of an agricultural project to promote job creation as well as generate some income for them. Speaking to the creative who manages the space who ended up giving us a cute little tour of the space, she stressed how working with the community around the newly developed space is very important to what they want to achieve.
Soon they will be having their own farmers market where locals can sell their own produce to customers who come in from all over the city. More so the artists and artisans who own studios are obliged to provide skills development and apprenticeship to empower individuals of the community who will then also share this knowledge to others.
I have no doubt that this space will thrive and become something great. It offers a variety of well-made creations from its residents, a small brewery should you become a bit thirsty and peckish and eventually open event spaces which could be used as galleries, private parties and as a function hall.
I’ll be sure to let you know when they have something again, keep your eye on the #FOMOFridays post. Otherwise pop in and check it out for yourself it’s gonna be a total thing.