The Visual Arts Network of South Africa (VANSA) was initiated by leading figures in the visual arts sector from across South Africa in 2003. People felt that the visual arts - unlike the film, performing arts, music, and publishing sectors - lacked a body that could tackle industry issues: from the need to address historical imbalances in access to opportunities in the visual arts, through to the need to attract more public investment and funding for the sector. Growth, Transformation and Opportunity were the three key ideas that motivated the organisation.

VANSA now functions as an industry body and development agency for the visual arts in South Africa. There are six key dimensions to our work:

  • INFORM – VANSA provides relevant and up-to-the-minute information on work, travel, learning and creative development opportunities locally and internationally.
  • DEVELOP – VANSA develops the skills and working knowledge of visual arts professionals through the development of accessible and useful resources and learning platforms.
  • CONNECT – VANSA aims to build a more connected industry, linking ideas, people and projects across the country, the continent and the globe.
  • CREATE – VANSA creates and facilitates opportunities for innovation and experimentation for contemporary artists – exploring new contexts, new creative strategies and new audiences.
  • RESEARCH – VANSA conducts research into the industry aimed at identifying trends, challenges and – most importantly – solutions to industry problems.
  • POSITION – VANSA acts as an informed and independent voice for talking to government and the private sector - tackling the issues that matter, from funding to freedom of expression.
VANSA has offices in Johannesburg from which a small but dedicated staff pursue these areas of work in relationship with partners across the country.


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