ARTS TOWN Riebeek Valley
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.
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
“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
Tickets are sold through Webtickets, the link being through
the website www.solostudios.co.za,
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 www.roomsinriebeek.co.za
Ticket Sales – www.solostudios.co.za
Accommodation bookings – www.roomsinriebeek.co.za
Email – firstname.lastname@example.org
Tel. – 074 209 6838