The charming Karoo village of Prince Albert is indeed a melting pot in many respects. It is nestled at the foot of the Swartberg Mountain, surrounded by rugged Karoo beauty and shaped by the spirit of its inhabitants. As such, it draws artists from far and wide, all hailing from various disciplines.
From Thursday, 15 to Sunday, 17 December, the town transforms into one big backstage gallery for the third Prince Albert Open Studios event. This bi-annual event has fast become a darling of the South African arts scene.
What makes this event truly one of a kind in a South African context is the fact that visitors not only get to experience the art of local creators, they are also allowed to get as close as they possibly can to the creative process.
All of the local artists – from photographers and sculptors to jewelers and potters – open their studios to the public for a viewing and a visit.
Imagine being able to not only own a piece of art, but to actually have been able to consult with the artist about the creative process. What was the reason, the influence, the drive – this is what makes owning, or simply admiring one of these pieces of art a real privilege.
What lends the occasion its charm is not only the foresight of engaging with artists or admiring their craft, it is something much deeper than that.
It is the opportunity to pay a visit to one of the last surviving mecas of the artistic world in South Africa. A village where artists feel at home not only because of the atmosphere, but the general ambience that inspires them to create and to thrive. A real trip to the world of artists.
While you’re in the village, there is so much to experience and take in. If you’re an avid cyclist, bring your mountain bike along. There are many paths to explore and sights to be seen. For hikers and trail runners alike, the local wildlife is booming.
For the foodies, there are some restaurants and delis that will lead you into a world of delight. Those who value beautiful things in their lives and homes will be overjoyed by the array of local shops offering crafts and angora-based products.
Quite simply, Prince Albert Open Studios is about so much more than celebrating the creative form of the local artists. It is a chance to see not only the space where these artists make their magic, but also what drives them to do so in the first place. The inspiration that is created by an enchanting village that is truly one of a kind.
For more information about activities and events in and around the village and to book accommodation for Prince Albert Open Studios, visit the Prince Albert Tourism website at www.princealbert.org.za. Also, check out their Facebook page (@PrinceAlbert.WesternCape), Twitter account (@prince_albert_tourism) and Instagram (@PrinceAlbertZA) for more news from Prince Albert.