Feast of art for collectors at August House and Ellis House open studio sessions

Get ready for the biggest Open Studios in Johannesburg 30 May 2021 – 10am to late as August House and Ellis House come together to present Johannesburg’s largest Open Studios event.

By CItyLife Arts Writer

On Sunday 30 May, August House and Ellis House will open their doors to the public, inviting them to view the artwork and meet the artists in their studios. This is the first time something of this nature has been done in Johannesburg and will allow the public to interact with almost 70 artists from different countries, cities and artists at different stages of their careers. This is a unique opportunity for the public to truly explore the visual arts and hear directly from the artists.

In order to make this event as visitor friendly as possible, guests are encouraged to park at Access City (5 Beacon St, New Doornfontein, Johannesburg) or at Ellis House (the parking is diagonally opposite the main entrance) and make use of the shuttle service that will run between the two studios. August House is located at 76 End Street, Doornfontein while Ellis House is located at 23 Voorhout St, Bertrams. The parking and the shuttle service are free. Shuttles will depart every 30 minutes starting at 11am.

Both spaces will be offering the public programmes that will run through-out the day. There will be food and beverages on sale at both locations with Ellis House providing hot dogs and burgers and August House selling pies. The food and beverages at August House will be sold through a ticketing system. Tickets can either be pre-bought (using this link:https://qkt.io/tmMFCQ) or bought on the day. Tickets will be sold using a card only system.

The event is free and open to all members of the public. Please remember that access will be refused to anyone not wearing a mask or members of the public not adhering to social distancing obligations.

For more information about the event and the programming, please visit:





August House Programme  
11:00 to 16:00
What: Artists open their studios to the public  
11:00 to 16:00
What: Kids Area – with a child minder
Where: 1st floor, north tower
11:00 to 16:00
What: “X-Change” an exhibition opening
Where: META foundation’s gallery, 4th floor, north tower
12:00 to 13:00
What: Live Artist Demonstration by Percy Maimela of his salt portraiture
Where: 2nd floor, South tower  

13:00 to 14:00
What: Walk about with artist Tivani Mabulele
Where: 3rd floor, North Tower, studio 305,
14:00 to 14:30
What: Live reading of “Abortion by the womb of Democracy” by author Nomawele Njongo Where: 3rd floor, North Tower, studio 310

  14:30 to 15:30 What: Panel discussion entitled “Is the bigger the better, a provocation of scale and space, moderated by KhanyisileMawhayi, panelists Lebogang Mabusela, Bevan De Wet and Chloë Reid.
Where: 1st floor, North Tower, studio 103  
Last shuttle leaving from August House to Access City  
17:00 to late What:
After Party – hosted by August House’s artists. Where: Roof of August House  
Ellis House Program  
10:00 to 16:00
What: Artists open their studios to the public  

10:00 to 16:00
What: Into the beast installation by artist Claire Manicom Where: Through the Basement access elevator  

10:00 to 16:00
What:“The Troubled Archive” – Exhibition opening Where: Ground floor gallery  

Last shuttle leaving from Ellis House


The META foundation was developed out of the need for August House Studios to be provided with strategic programming that uplifts, develops and supports visual artists and their practice. At its heart, it is the non-profit arm of August House, whose role is to create and implement the programming within the building.

Everything that the META foundation does is aimed at the three pillars that make up the visual arts eco-system. These are defined as “the artist”, “the artwork” and “the audience”. The foundation’s aim is to bring these three pillars together and to drive best practice.

It is through these focus areas that itdefines focuses its programming.


In Johannesburg’s inner city lies an exclusive art building, housing more than 40 independent, pan-African contemporary artists, in private art studios, known to the locals as ‘The Artists’ Playground’.To the outsider it’s just a 1940s historic structure until one crosses the threshold and sees where the magic lives, in five stories of private art studios. August House is the largest Artist community in Johannesburg and perhaps South Africa, with 53 artists housed within the building.  

August House gives artists a unique creative hub. With its high columns, authentic architecture and large open plan floors, it’s a wonderful blend of inspiration and stillness. Once a light industrial warehouse space, August House celebrates 15 years as a well-established, local and international contemporary African artists community, within walking distance from the Maboneng, Arts on Main district.

August House was established as an enclave for artists in 2006 by Bie Venter and Maria Svane. Its notable tenants have included artists such as Mary Sibanda, Dineo SesheeBopape and Lawrence Lemaoana,  Mbongeni Richman Buthelezi, Gordon Froud and Joseph Gaylard, Nontobeko Ntombela, Gabi Ngcobo, GonçaloMabunda, Jacki McInnes, Nelson Makamo, Bie Venter, KudzanaiChiurai and Nicholas Hlobo. The space has both survived and thrived. The building was sold in 2016 and during the transition more formal studio spaces were created for young up and coming artists.

While August House was created to initially provide a studio space for local artists, the space has extended its programming in order to provide support and development of the artists and the visual arts industry as a whole. It does this through its non-profit arm, the META foundation.


Nestled between iconic landmarks Ellis Park and Troyeville Hotel in the inner-city neighbourhood of New Doornfontein, Ellis House Art Studios is a 5-storey building housing an eclectic mix of emerging and established artists.

Established in 2012 by Ian Blacher, this light industrial warehouse – previously a textile factory – has been transformed into private studio spaces of varying sizes. Ellis Houseis home to over 30 artists as well as The Labyrinth Project: a platform for artistic exchange and interdisciplinary experiment.  Ellis House features multiple exhibition and workshop spaces, Audio-Visual facilities and prides itself on the fact that all creative programming is artist-led.

Notable past and present tenants include Nandipha Mntambo, Blessing Ngobeni, Reshma Chhiba, Colbert Mashile (current tenant),  Wayne Barker, Ayana Jackson (also still a tenant), the experimental rock group BlkJks and many more


Within easy distance of August House, Victoria Yards and the Maboneng Arts on Main district, Ellis House has become an important node of the greater creative/cultural hub in inner city Johannesburg.

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