The artworks of established and emerging artists jostle for visitors’ attention at Cape Town’s Rust-en-Vrede Art Gallery in Durbanville. Rust-en-Vrede was built in the 1840s to serve as a prison and police headquarters. The building was also used as a magistrate’s court and in 1901, when Durbanville became a municipality, early council meetings were also held there.
In 1927 the building was sold to clockmaker Robert John Meneely, who converted it into four semi-detached houses: The Oaks, Ingle Nook, My Vreugd and The Retreat. The municipality purchased the property from the Meneely estate in 1978 and restoration of the building started soon afterwards. In 1981, the Durbanville Cultural Society was established. The society, together with the council, was given permission to run the building as an arts and culture centre.
There are currently three exhibition spaces at Rust-en-Vrede. The main gallery comprises Salon A and Salon B. Salon C, in the entrance room, is used for small solo or group exhibitions.
The gallery complex also houses a clay museum, various art studios and the Gallery Café. The clay museum offers 90 small ceramic pieces by various potters, which may be bought by visitors as souvenirs.
The Gallery Café specialises in light meals with a Mediterranean flair, served in the dappled shade of the courtyard during summer or in front of a log fire in winter. Meals are accompanied by wines from the Durbanville wine route, which may be tasted before purchase. As seating is limited, booking is essential. To book, call +27 (0)21 975 7949.
The gallery is open from Mondays to Fridays from 09h00-17h00 and on Saturdays from 09h00-13h00. Exhibitions change monthly and are free to the public.
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