Central Cape Town is full of contemporary art galleries, vibrant restaurants, shops and bars. To get a taste of what the Mother City has to offer, be sure stop by on the first Thursday of the month, when the CBD comes alive with art exhibitions, cultural performances, street food and fashion until late.
The First Thursdays concept was first started in London to encourage people from all walks of life to visit art galleries and museums. Since its Cape Town debut in 2012, First Thursdays have become the city’s foremost cultural event. Galleries around the city remain open until 9pm, allowing visitors to browse for free. Most participating galleries and bars are a short distance from each other, making it easy to ditch the car and walk around for the night.
99 Loop Gallery
99 Loop Gallery highlights top emerging and established artists from around South Africa. Set in a revamped 19th century building, the gallery exhibits a revolving series of solo and group exhibitions in a chic and modern interior. Here, art lovers can view a wide range of African artworks, including paintings, sculpture and photography.
99 Loop St, Cape Town, +27 21 422 3766
Smith Gallery specializes in a broad range of works by emerging and established South African artists. Their aim is to make art more accessible to art lovers and collectors. The gallery features regular individual and group exhibitions.
56 Church St, Cape Town, +27 21 422 0814
State of the Art
State of the Art showcases some of the best artistic talent from South Africa. All art is carefully selected by a curatorial panel, and is available to purchase online or directly from the gallery. The intimate space features a diverse array of art, from vivid landscapes to nudes and pop art.
61 Shortmarket Street, Cape Town, +27 (0)72 470 9272
Amplify Studio is a dynamic gallery that endeavors to uphold photography as an art form, and supports emerging talent. The studio has an annual residency programme, wherein aspiring photographers are offered skills development, mentorship and exposure to the local and international market.
153 Loop St, Cape Town, +27 (0) 87 470 0421
With two branches in Cape Town and Franschhoek, Ebony Curated exhibits a wide array of contemporary fine art along with high-end furniture, lighting and rugs made by local designers.
67 Loop St, Cape Town, +27 21 424 9985
Worldart Gallery is situated in a quaint pedestrian mall filled with galleries, antique shops and clothing boutiques. The light and airy space features cool contemporary artists gravitating towards urban and pop art.
54 Church St, Cape Town, +27 21 423 3075
Eclectica Contemporary presents a carefully curated selection of art that celebrates the diversity of art making on the African continent in the context of a growing global market. The gallery runs an eclectic programme of exhibitions showcasing a mix of solo and curated group shows.
69 Burg St, Cape Town, +27 21 422 4145
Youngblood Africa is an arts and culture development foundation that provides a platform for artists from all genres in a three-storey gallery on Bree Street. The unique space plays host to a range of exhibitions, performances, dance rehearsals and events. There is also an express food café on the first floor where you can grab a bite to eat before browsing the art on show.
70-72 Bree St, Cape Town, +27 21 424 0074
Situated on Church Street, the Association for Visual Arts is the oldest non-profit art gallery in Cape Town. It champions African contemporary art of all media, from photography to performance, by emerging and established artists.
35 Church St, Cape Town, +27 21 424 7436
KnexT Art Gallery
KnexT Gallery provides a platform for local artists and designers to market their work to the world. At their Harrington Street gallery you will find an eclectic selection of contemporary art often accompanied by live music, as well as eco-furniture, artisan and designer products on display.
115c Harrington St, Gardens, Cape Town, +27 (0)60 971 9313