Visit Knysna, Knysna Tourism, Garden Route, South Africa

Recreating a culture of art in Knysna

Historically Knysna had a reputation as the place to find and indulge in art. Now the Knysna Art Project is set to reclaim the town’s position as a “must go” destination on the art map.

The Knysna Art Project has been a year in the planning but will soon be rolled out with the installation of a show-stopping 2.2m sculpture of a Rastafarian priest at the iconic Judah Square in Concordia, home to South Africa’s biggest Rastafarian community. Local ceramicist Eugene Lewis is working on the final touches under the mentorship of well-known sculptor and artist Suzanne du Toit.

So far six iconic Knysna sites have been earmarked as spots for unique art installations: the impressive sculpture at Judah Square, a giant nautilus made from stainless steel and indigenous wood at Thesen Harbour Town on Thesen Island, in front of SANParks offices; stainless steel impressions of Knysna fynbos and butterflies at Belvidere and Brenton on Sea; a series of surfboards painted by local artists will create a “boardwalk” at Buffalo Bay, and in Sedgefield a mosaic VW beetle by NPO Masithandane will be the latest addition to the town’s Mosaic Route. In time, Knysna’s CBD will also be cheered with existing “Knysna in Bloom” pots along the Main Road being turned into creative canvases; the initial installations of the latter being outside the Visit Knysna information office.

The goal of the Knysna Art Project is to encourage locals, domestic and foreign tourists to explore more of the greater Knysna area, discover all it has to offer, Instagram it and share with the rest of the world.
The project is a collaboration between the Knysna Art Society, Visit Knysna (Destination Marketing Organisation), Knysna Municipality (local economic development) and The Western Cape Tourism, Trade and Investment Promotion Agency (Wesgro).

The Knysna Art Society (KAS) is overseeing the project, their aim being to revive the culture of art in the town – at a time that could not be more opportune. KAS is involved in the actual art installations and is playing an instrumental role in encouraging local artists to contribute. The KAS is also playing a pivotal role in the general art resurgence in Knysna by becoming a magnet for artists, a place to encourage and grow their presence in the town. The number of KAS members has seen a phenomenal increase, driven by artists wanting to participate in the exciting art initiatives underway.

Another significant project that the KAS is busy with is an art route/map which will be finalised in time for the 2021 Knysna Oyster Festival. Once completed, the Art Route will guide visitors on a meander of art, sculpture and working studios in the greater Knysna area.

Art Society chairperson Helena Gerber says this is the perfect time for the art renaissance in Knysna and that there has been a silver lining that has come from Covid-19 with artists finding time to enjoy and explore their creativity. “During Covid-19 and the 2020 lockdown periods artists took to their palettes and homeowners began moving furniture, renovating and doing DIY projects – with many seeking that perfect piece of art to complement their home improvements,” says Helena.

Taking advantage of this, the KAS is now on a mission “to inspire, to create vision and a platform for all artists in the community in a way that is authentic, creative and supportive,” says Helena.

Helena explains that during 2020 when galleries were closed artists were compelled to take to digital platforms with the result being that the KAS website www.knysnaarts.com has become a busy and vibrant platform connecting artists with one another, but also a place where those looking for art can explore and connect with talented artists.

A Facebook group, Artists Unite set up by the Knysna Art Society has also become a place where artists are empowered and encouraged to brainstorm.

“The energy of art in greater Knysna is very special. The area is densely populated with talented artists, attracted by the natural beauty and the lifestyle. Art generated here ends up all over the world,” says Helena.

Visit Knysna and the Knysna Art Society are working hand in hand to expand and grow the art route. “The listings on the Knysna Art Route are growing weekly. There is still a lot of work to be done on getting all of the art experiences available to the public mapped out. Greater Knysna has a treasure chest of uncelebrated gems that are yet to be added as we create the art route,” says Colleen Durant, GM of Visit Knysna.

Knysna executive mayor Ricky van Aswegen says of the Knysna Art Society, “It is a community linking artists, galleries, studios and crafters and an integral and notable contributor to the visitor appeal, but also the economy of the town. Greater Knysna boasts a creative history but over the years the area has become a destination for leisure activities with the focus on art and culture dwindling.”

Check out www.knysnaarts.com and get lost in a virtual tour of the talent that abounds in greater Knysna. This website gives a peek into the world of local artists, details an art-crawl of the various galleries, and is also the place to look for art-related news and relevant events in the area.

At www.knysnaarts.com you will also find several local artists whose work has winged its way to the far corners of South Africa and the globe. Explore the world of Artwell Musungate whose African art rocks, check out iconic Guy Thesen’s work. See Veronica de Voogt’s passion for wildlife which she explores through bronze metal statues. Richard Henley was a boat builder so see what he can do when it comes to making amazing furniture from indigenous wood. Browse the talent of Knysna: Nanna Joubert, Julie Tugwell, Gavin Foster, Jan Raats and others – some household names and some emerging artists.

Explore the Knysna Art Route at www.knysnaarts.com which introduces galleries, studios and other art venues, giving visitors the opportunity to engage with local artists and encouraging them to get out and experience art first-hand. Included on the map are a wide range of arty places from the newly established Art on Queen, Jandreart Studio on Thesen Island to the latest happening at Entabeni Farm which hosts international artists a few times a year. Visit the bohemian Faithfully Yours, Blaze Jewellery Art or find hundred percent unique South African and local design at Iphupho Creative Designs.

The aim is to have the first edition of the Knysna Art Route map ready for this year’s Knysna Oyster Festival in July but it will be updated regularly with new artists and art spaces. The Art Route will also feature the installations currently being created as part of Visit Knysna’s Interactive Art Project.

In the rundown to the Knysna Art Project being rolled out, keep your eye on www.knysnaarts.com to see ways you too can become part of this revival. Whether you are an accomplished artist or an aspiring artist, there is place for everybody living in the greater Knysna area to contribute to the beauty of this town in many different arty and creative ways.

Contact Helena Gerber from the Knysna Art Society on email knysnaartssociety@gmail.com for more information, or call 082 657 4122.

Knysna Interactive Art Project “We came. We saw. We loved.”

Knysna is one of the most beautiful towns in South Africa and has historically been positioned as a home of world-class art in the Western Cape.

Now, the Knysna Interactive Art Project will deploy art installations at iconic spots in the greater Knysna area – to create adventure, passion and those perfect Instagram moments.

There are now in 2021 more than one billion Instagram users with two billion expected by 2023. And with 80 million photos being uploaded onto Instagram every single day, visitors to Knysna will be spoilt for choice when it comes to finding that picture-perfect setting to share on social media platforms.

The Knysna Interactive Art Project, has been in the pipeline for a year. It’s a combined initiative between Visit Knysna (Destination Marketing), Knysna Municipality (Destination Management and Economic Development) and The Knysna Art Society, aimed at creating interactive art and public spaces in key locations. This will encourage locals, visitors and foreign tourists to explore more of the greater Knysna area, go off the beaten-track, see, post and share with the rest of the world.

The goal being to provide a ‘Veni. Vidi. Amavi. We came, we saw, we loved’ experience right here on the Garden Route.

The project started in 2020 when Visit Knysna invited artists, crafters and creatives in the area to come up with ideas for an interactive art route that would capture the hearts of visitors, but also showcase the region’s natural assets.

Knysna Executive Mayor Ricky van Aswegen called this project one of the most exciting the town has embarked on in recent years. “Now more than ever, we need to build our tourism offerings. The interactive installations at view sites and cultural centres will encourage visitors to branch out and explore the entire greater Knysna area – and experience the unique and diverse nature of what we have to offer,” said Van Aswegen.

GM of Visit Knysna Colleen Durant explained this will showcase the very best of Knysna’s iconic locations by involving arts and the community. “Combining our most beautiful and photographed spots with art installations from our talented community of artists, will ensure we reverberate around the world,” she said.

The Knysna Art Society is working hard behind the scenes to make it all happen. Chairman Helena Gerber believes that this is just the sort of initiative that is needed to put the area back on the map as an art and culture destination. “In addition, the introduction of an art route linking installations, galleries, studios, artists and crafters with visitors will help to reinvigorate our local economy,” she said.

Wesgro CEO, Tim Harris said: “It is very exciting to see this creative project coming to life. I believe that interactive art illustrates a sense of creativity and cultural vibrancy, and promotes tourism. I hope residents and tourists alike will come and explore the greater Knysna area, engage with the art and all that the destination has to offer.”

Six iconic view sites were identified in 2020 to host an art installation – creating the perfect backdrop for that selfie.

• Judah Square in Khayalethu, home to the biggest community of Rastafarian people in South Africa, will get a 2.5 metre statue of a Rastafari priest mounted at the entrance to greet visitors. Ceramicist Eugene Lewis under the mentorship of artist Suzanne du Toit is already hard at work creating one of his Tribal Africa signature masterpieces.
• Thesen Island will set the scene for a giant nautilus sculpture of stainless steel and indigenous wood in front of the SANParks offices . The installation will be the end point of an extended SANParks experience which will now include an educational indigenous garden and, of course, a viewing of the famous Knysna seahorse.
• Belvidere and Brenton on Sea – two of greater Knysna’s most scenic spots, will benefit from stainless steel impressions of Knysna fynbos and butterflies.
• Buffalo Bay, a prime swimming and surfing spot, is to be enhanced with the “Buffalo Bay Boardwalk,” a series of surfboards painted by local artists. Already a popular water sport destination, the interactive art will help to turn this beach into a surfing icon.
• In Sedgefield, the existing character of this quaint town will be enhanced by a new mosaic sculpture by local NPO Masithandane. The colourful full-size VW Beetle will be parked on the edge of the Sedgefield estuary mouth, the latest addition to the Sedgefield Mosaic Route.
• In Knysna, the central business district will be brightened and cheered when the Knysna in Bloom flower pots in the Main Road and surrounds become creative canvases.

Now that the creative process is underway, Visit Knysna and the Knysna Art Society will work on the next phase of the project which will include interactive art installations on Leisure Island, Millionaire’s View Point in White Location and Diepwalle. Local artist Shelley du Plessis has also proposed transforming the dead tree’s in the town into colourful painted works of art.

THE SKY IS THE LIMIT.
WATCH THIS SPACE.

Read more about The Knysna Art Society which is breathing life into these projects: www.knysnaarts.com

Contact Helena Gerber from the Knysna Art Society on email knysnaartssociety@gmail.com for more information, or call 082 657 4122.

Posted in art

Get ready to be active at the 2021 Knysna Oyster Festival

Be sure to gobble an oyster or two, because with all the sporting activities happening in and around Knysna from 9 to 18 July, you will need all those fantastic nutrients to keep up your stamina during the 2021 Knysna Oyster Festival.

“Knysna and the surrounding area is a sports paradise throughout the year,” said Festival Coordinator Andrew Finn. “Our unique, natural tracks and waterways are all available to visitors during this year’s Knysna Oyster Festival, with many extra-high octane activities to challenge guests and locals in between sampling the magnitude of leisure offerings to enjoy.”

Visit Knysna General Manager Colleen Durant confirmed the variety of sporting activities on offer during the festival. “The festival has always been known for not only its amazing food and wine, but the popular running and cycling races of both weekends,” she explained. “This year sees the addition of a number of different sporting disciplines, offering challenges to competitive athletes and, more importantly, fun outings for families and friends. More activities are listed as they are confirmed, so please keep an eye on the website for updates.”

The Knysna Forest Virtual run takes place on the 10th and 11th July. The virtual aspect of the race invites runners to complete their routes in Knysna itself. An option of the forest routes start and finish at The Farm on Old Cape Road, and the Knysna flat route loops through the town itself, with its beginning and end at Knysna Deli on Main Road. Clean your clubs and tee up for Simola Night Golf, also on the 10th. Players will walk Simola’s front nine holes and play with flashing balls and lit greens and enjoy a wine, craft gin and craft beer tasting.

The Houtkapper Trail Run takes place in Knysna’s Goudveld forest on the 11th. Offering three routes of varying lengths and difficulty, runners will pass through Krisjan-se-nek (where Daleen Mathee’s ashes were scattered), the Daleen Mathee memorial and the site of the 880 year old Yellowwood tree known as the Daleen Mathee Big Tree.

Get your toes in the sand on the 12th and take part in the B2B Beach Run. Walk or run on one of South Africa’s most stunning beaches while having fun and contributing to the local NSRI station. Choose between 5km or 10km and start from either Brenton-on-Sea or Buffalo Bay. Register on the day at either beach between 7h30 and 8h00. Athletics SWD are hosting three running events at the Loerie Park sport field the next day, on the 13th. Join in the cross country relay, street mile or 5km fun run.

The Urban X Trail Run and Obstacle Course is a fun trail run taking place at Blackwaters River Lodge on the 13th and 14th July. Starting at 09h00 with 10 easy obstacles, none of which require excessive upper body strength, this is a fun activity for anyone to enjoy. The Knysna X Trail Series takes place at the Pezula Championship Golf Course on the 15th and 16th, with trail running adventures for everyone in any of the Kidz, Lite, Full or Pro categories.

On the 16th, the Sea-2-Tower trail runners start off at sea level, wind up through the Knysna Forest and climb a 6m steel ladder into the forest fire tower where forest rangers and spectacular views over the surrounding forest, mountains and valleys will greet finishers. A choice of three distances will take runners from Thesen Island to the Buffelsnek fire tower.

The Knysna Cycle Tour will once again challenge mountain bike riders on 17 July, and road racers on 18 July. Both races are provisionally set to kick off with staggered starts, with both the 50km road and 50km MTB races also available as virtual courses on the online platform Rouvy. Entries to the physical rides close at the end of June, and registration will take place on the 16 July. Riders who enter on Rouvy will have a free month’s worth of riding on the online platform. Riders are also invited to join the tour’s Strava group.

The Knysna Yacht Club Sailing Regatta for small sailing boat classes takes place on the 17th from 14h00 to 17h00, while the Sedgefield Tennis Club hosts a fun round robin on the same day from 11h00. Paddlers can also take to the water on the 18th for the Harbour to Heads canoe race from the Knysna Yacht Club to The Heads and back.

Knysna Executive Mayor Elrick van Aswegen emphasised that the entire greater Knysna area would be the festival venue this year. “This is a festival of our town and our area,” he said. “With these fantastic sporting activities taking place throughout the region, it is the perfect opportunity to experience our natural area and the beauty of our forests, lagoons and beaches. We are open and ready for the Knysna Oyster Festival. Are you?”

Guests will be delighted to find that accommodation in the area has also been discounted during this period, Finn concluded. “We know that everyone is craving a bit of a getaway so, take advantage of great accommodation specials and take a break in Knysna. Click the Stay-button to find all of these specials at www.knysnaoysterfestival.co.za.”

Contacts:
Knysna Virtual Forest Marathon – Wayne Kidd, kmc@telkomsa.net, https://knysnamarathonclub.com/forest-marathon/.
Simola Night Golf Festival – Scott Edkins, 0836477997, scott@ascottours.co.za.
Houtkapper Trail Run – Gavin/Leon, 0835027935, houtkappertrailrun@gmail.com.
B2B Beach Run – Sean Sandiford, 0736132985, sean@wannado.co.za.
Athletics SWD running events – 0836178325, manager@aswd.co.za.
Urban X Trail Run and Obstacle Course – Coyote Events, 0744562253, bel.hodgson113@gmail.com.
Knysna X Trail Series – https://knysnaxse.co.za/2020/03/09/winter-run/.
Sea 2 Tower Trail Run – Sean Sandiford, 0736132985, sean@wannado.co.za.
The Knysna Cycle Tour – 0443827500, info@knysnacycle.co.za, http://knysnacycle.co.za/.
The Knysna Yacht Club Sailing Regatta – 0443825724, secretary@knysnayachtclub.com.
Tennis Round Robin – Bruce Schulze, 0443431719, calrossie@axemail.co.za.
Harbour to Heads Canoe Race – 0443825724, secretary@knysnayachtclub.com.

www.knysnaoysterfestival.co.za has all the details on accommodation and activity specials, as well as the growing calendar and entry/ticket information. Check it regularly for updates.
Follow us on Facebook and Instagram at @KnysnaOysterFestival.
Contact Festival Coordinator Andrew Finn on email info@knysnaoysterfestival.co.za for more information, or call 0443825510.

#knysnaoysterfestival #knysnaoysterfestival2021 #KOF2021 #kof #stayworkplay #knysna #visitknysna #wfk #workfromknysna

#WFK Knysna? We say why not!?

South Africa’s premium sport and lifestyle festival is back! Breaking ground with an eclectic mix of physical and virtual events and activities, the Knysna Oyster Festival is scheduled to take place from 9 to 18 July 2021 under the theme ‘STAY, WORK, PLAY’.

From sport to food, to art, adventure and music – the jam-packed programme will run over the full ten days of the festival spanning the greater Knysna area.
Giving a fresh feel to the inaugural hybrid format of the event, Visit Knysna along with the Knysna Oyster Festival organisers are launching a quirky ‘tongue-in-cheek’ awareness campaign called Wanna #WFK? (Work from Knysna). The campaign seeks to ensure the popular South African festival remains a fixed date on the calendar, whilst encouraging festino’s to enjoy the full ten days by maximising the remote work possibilities and enjoying a not to be missed programme in-between.

“This year there is a real opportunity to tap into a current truth: if you’re working from home, you could be working from anywhere. The Knysna Oyster Festival is the perfect place to not only work, but immerse yourself and your family in a number of experiences that you can enjoy before, during or after your work day,” commented Colleen Durant, Visit Knysna General Manager.

The Executive Mayor of Knysna, Cllr Elrick van Aswegen added: “The Knysna Oyster Festival, a flagship event for the Western Cape and more specifically the Garden Route and Klein Karoo, remains an important drawcard for visitors to the greater Knysna area. Our community has worked together to co-ordinate a full programme of offerings that suit a variety of interests and age groups, making the festival the perfect family getaway over the school holidays.”

With safety being at the centre of all activities, all COVID-19 protocols will be observed with the popular cycle and running races taking place virtually.

“The #WFK campaign, run out of Wesgro, is a chance for us to entice those who want more out of a breakaway. With the flexibility that remote work brings, we encourage old friends and visitors to enjoy the full ten day programme curated by the Knysna Oyster Festival organisers. With an array of food, art and adrenaline experiences – this unmissable family festival is a must on the 2021 travel list,” concluded Wesgro CMO, Monika Iuel.

Ends

www.knysnaoysterfestival.co.za has all the details on accommodation and activity specials, as well as the growing calendar and entry/ticket information. Check it regularly for updates.

Follow us on Facebook and Instagram at @KnysnaOysterFestival.
Contact Festival Coordinator Andrew Finn on email info@knysnaoysterfestival.co.za for more information, or call 0443825510.

#knysnaoysterfestival #knysnaoysterfestival2021 #KOF2021 #kof #stayworkplay #knysna #visitknysna #wfk #workfromknysna