African Art Centre

Non profit organisation

Established in 1959, the African Art Centre is a non-profit company which preserves and mentors the development of arts, craft and design; showcasing local creative talent to stimulate sustainable social and economic upliftment.

During the past 60 years the Durban African Art Centre Association (African Art Centre) has provided hundreds of artists and crafters with opportunities for self-employment and the realization of their talents.  Originally established as a programme of the South African Institute of Race Relations in 1959, the African Art Centre has, since 1984, operated as a non-profit organization.  It was guided by the late Jo Thorpe, who virtually single-handed, put Durban on the map as an important centre of black artistic development.


To create an enabling environment for the sustainable development, promotion and preservation of African arts and crafts with special focus on KwaZulu-Natal.

The African Art Centre contributes to the development, promotion and appreciation of African arts and crafts by:

  • DEVELOPMENT AND TRAINING – providing creative and business skills development and mentoring for targeted crafters and artists
  • EXHIBITIONS – providing a professional exhibition space for young and established artists and crafters
  • MARKETING AND SALES – providing an outlet for the wholesale and retail of artists’ and crafters’ work.


Since its inception, the African Art Centre has successfully facilitated and implemented relevant development and mentorship programmes and showcase opportunities for hundreds of artists and crafters from rural and urban KwaZulu-Natal. The Centre is recognized as one of the longest running South African organizations involved in the development and marketing of the works produced by disadvantaged artists and crafters. Through various marketing initiatives, every attempt is made to assist artists and crafters to tap into domestic, provincial, national and international markets.  Our shop and gallery now situated in premises at The Phansi Museum at 500 Esther Roberts Road, Glenwood, Durban, allows us to professionally showcase and promote the works of artists and crafters on an on going basis.

The African Art Centre recognizes and addresses:

  • The problems of unemployment
  • The socio-economic consequences of South Africa’s history
  • The need for all people to have the opportunity to work and earn a living
  • The intrinsic value of human dignity achieved through being able to work
  • The need to kindle and stimulate self-motivation through acquired skills
  • The need to encourage creativity and innovation in the pursuit of sustainable growth and development
  • The cultural and creative industries as a driver and enabler of economic development and social development

Trading Hours:

Mon to Fri: 08:00 – 16:00

Sat: 10:00 – 14:00

Closed on Public Holidays

Contact Details:

031 312 3804

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