A group of young people from Philippi in the Western Cape, are on a mission to open the first art centre in the area after their renovation of an old abandoned crèche that had become a local hub for drugs.
The group is on day 21 of 30 days of renovating and cleaning the space, working towards a public launch to introduce the Try Again Educare Centre to the community. The centre will be focusing on fighting crime and stopping drug addicts from occupying the space.
Philippi Arts Centre spokesperson Kolping Mbumba said they decided to occupy the deteriorating space and renovate it to use as a much-needed institution of introductory, intermediate and professional artistic training for the youth of Philippi and the greater sub-council 13 community.
“The decision to occupy the space comes out of desperation from the young arts and creative community in Philippi, for space where we can express ourselves artistically in the comfort of our own neighbourhood and hopefully transform and change the mindset towards artistic careers generally held by our parents,” he said.
However, sub-council 13 Arts and Culture Champions Chairperson, Irvin Fillander said the dream was being hindered and stalled by certain individuals and structures that have been involved in a dispute for years regarding the ownership of the crèche.
“We have a long-term dream of a state-of-the-art art facility in Philippi that will provide introductory, intermediate and professional training and workshops in various art forms from our team of artists, who are professionals and specialists in their respective professional careers,” said Fillander.
Mbumba highlighted that they have come to understand that it will be hard securing long-term structural sponsors and donors for their building and programmes.
“All of these challenges stacked against us we see as motivation to work even harder, dedicate ourselves to seeing this struggle all the way through, so that all artistically gifted or interested future children in our community have a place where they are free to express themselves and grow exponentially within the community as artists,” he said.
Fillander added that they were overwhelmed by, and grateful for, the support they have received from the community and were reaching out to whoever was able to assist.
Future plans for the Try Again Educare Centre include a fully functional garden, catering/ soup kitchen and a decorated children’s playground to go along with the extramural activities we plan to implement.