First Thursdays is a free public event that takes place throughout the year (except for January) and starts at 5pm.
Art galleries and selected shops around Cape Town’s CBD stay open until 9 pm on the first Thursday of every month, allowing anyone to explore the city on foot and experience the cultural wealth this city has to offer. Restaurants, great bars, food trucks and street performances have also become a part of the art walk.
First Thursdays is for locals and visitors alike. It provides a fun opportunity for residents to indulge in local culture, mingle with neighbours and participate in the arts community. The program also offers visitors the chance to experience, in one evening, the diversity of Cape Town’s visual and performing arts scene, as well as having the opportunity to buy local gifts and meet to Capetonians.
First Thursdays falls within a particular area of the central city, primarily along the axes of Bree Street (between Buitensingel and Strand) and Church Street (between Buitengracht and Church Square). There is no set order or sequence in which you need to walk. At XO Africa we simply help you figure out what to see and where to go by highlighting a great variety of galleries, shops and activities.
Stage 1 Mogalakwena, metaphor for “fierce crocodile”
3 Church Street
This special little double storey gallery owned by Elbe Coetzee, anthropologist and author of Craft Art in South Africa opened in 2008. Elbe is the owner and founder of the Mogalakwena Craft Village in Limpopo where she works with a team of embroiderers, beaders, weavers and sculptors. The work of these artists is on display together with specialist exhibitions, which are very often focused on the work of women. If you are looking for authenticity and heartfelt gifts to bring home, this is the place to go.
Stage 2 Stable
65 Loop Street
Stable is a shop that offers a collection of innovative South African designs, such as chairs, tables and lamps, etc.
Stage 3 StateoftheART & G2 art
61 Shortmarket Street
StateoftheART & G2 Art is a permanent gallery where art lovers can physically experience a diverse and dynamic selection of contemporary art. The gallery’s owners are showing their support for Cape Town as the being the World Design Capital in 2014 by introducing an initiative called ‘Start a Collection’, which allows first-time buyers an amazing opportunity to start their own art collection on a modest budget.
Stage 4 Commune.1
64 Wale Street, Cape Town
Commune.1 Gallery focuses on large format installations and sculptures, providing artists with a devoted area to showcase their creativity. The gallery is situated in a two-story, 1,800-square-foot stunning building with an interesting past. Built in 1763, it’s one of the oldest buildings still standing in Cape Town, and before Commune.1 took over, it was home to a mortuary. A must see gallery!
Stage 5 Food trucks
Bree Street (between Peeper St and Dorp St
By this time you will be hungry and ready for break. Cape Town Food Trucks is all about bringing gourmet food to the best spots in Cape Town.
Stage 6 Brundyn+
170 Buitengracht Street
Brundyn+ is a contemporary fine art gallery that has created a niche for itself as a world class cultural voice in South Africa; it is home to some of the country’s most regarded and relevant contemporary artists, including Matthew Hindley and Alex Emsley.
Stage 7 1000Drawings
Friends of Design – Academy of Digital Arts
186 Bree Street
1000Drawings is an empowerment project. It’s a one-night-only, massive inner-city art sale to raise funds for a deserving cause – The Night of a 1000Drawings.
Monthly doodle sessions (known as “doodles”) are a popular way to create much needed works of art for the exhibition.