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ARTS TOWN Riebeek Valley awakens…  
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ARTS TOWN Riebeek Valley awakens… 

When visiting Riebeek Valley, it is easy to understand why a colony of acclaimed artists have made this their home.  With the often snow-capped mountains of the Cedarberg range to the distant east, and nestled against the sliver of mountain called Kasteelberg to the west, the sister towns of Riebeek Kasteel and Riebeek West offer a rural lifestyle in an inspirational setting, but with the comforts of the city of Cape Town less than an hour’s drive away.     

Approaching from Malmesbury, one is quickly immersed in the landscape of the seemingly endless wheat fields of the rugged Swartland.  However, a stark contrast awaits as one gently ascends the Kasteelberg and summits the Bothmaskloof Pass, the gateway to Riebeek Valley. 

Breathtaking views of picturesque vineyards, olive groves and fruit orchards fill the landscape of the valley below.  Agriculture makes up the mainstay of the Riebeek Valley economy, along with Agri-Tourism. 

And now, a new form of “industry” is breathing new life into the economy of this rural community, that of Arts Tourism. 

Arts Town

Among the renowned contemporary artists who have made Riebeek Valley their home, are Andre van Vuuren, Emma Willemse, Jenny Parsons, Tamlin Blake and Riaan van Zyl, to name but a handful.  In addition, the valley is home to a myriad of artists, crafters and artisans – jewelers, ceramicists, potters, leather crafters, sculptors, musicians, writers, poets, wine makers, craft brewers, dance troupes and community project participants.   

 “Besides the regular exhibitions, there are many other attractions and activities throughout the year, ranging from artist retreats and workshops, performances, street parties, festivals and the like”, says Astrid McLeod, owner and curator of The Gallery and RK Contemporary, the two permanent galleries in town (albeit housed under one roof).  “We are truly blessed with the high density of creatives that call the valley home, which has validated us to declare ourselves “ARTS TOWN!”

And once a year, ARTS TOWN Riebeek Valley puts on its best dress and hosts its showpiece event, SOLO STUDIOS – Intimate Art Encounters.  This is not another “Arts Festival”, however. 

“You will not find a flea market or beer tents on the village square at Solo Studios”, says Klaus Piprek, founder and driving force behind the event.  “We welcome visitors to experience our village life as it normally exists, but with just a little extra zing, and of course the very rare opportunity to enter the personal realm of our colony of acclaimed artists.”

“The event is in its fourth year, and has become known as a platform for art collectors, investors and interior decorators alike to enter into their annual diaries, a weekend on the calendar not to be missed.  Besides the serious business of purchasing art, there are sufficient more light hearted activities to make a long weekend of it.  We are renowned for our excellent wines, craft beers, olive products, restaurants, entertainment and Swartland hospitality”, boasts Piprek.  “And what makes this event so unique, is that all the participating artists are resident in the valley, or have their permanent studios here”. 

The core of the event is the once a year opportunity to visit the artists in their personal workspaces.  Here the buyer can engage with the artists themselves, experience how their work is conceptualized and created, and buy art directly from the artist, “fresh off the easel” so to speak.  For the 2019 event, 18 resident artists have been selected as participants. 

Besides the artists’ studios, one can expect a range of other activities and attractions, including 6 galleries or pop-up group exhibitions, engaging talks, guided walkabouts by renowned art aficionados, impromptu musical events and productions. 

Pre-booking essential, access and accommodation limited

Tickets are sold through Webtickets, the link being through the website, and come in a variety of options.  This ranges from the Premier Weekend Pass at R395.00 for the weekend, to day passes at R195.00 per day.

“The Premier Weekend Pass is the one that sells out fastest each year, as this includes the official opening event, and access to all exhibitions and studios for the entire long weekend.  The exceptions are a few events and performances, which are charged for individually”, says Piprek. “Visitors are advised to familiarize themselves with the programme, downloadable on the website, and with what each ticket entitles them to”. 

Because the event takes place largely within the homes and studios of the artists, access needs to be limited and controlled, and visitors are therefore strongly advised to pre-book to avoid disappointment. And since it is hosted on a long weekend, accommodation is likely to be filled rather early.  Visitors are encouraged to book their accommodation well in advance on


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Tel. – 074 209 6838



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