Prince Albert Open Studios – Art in the Heart of the Karoo
By Sue Savage

Elcado Blom at his easle

After the disappointment of the June cancellation of Prince Albert Open Studios, the artists will be delighted to welcome visitors to their studios again from 7-10 January 2021, albeit with strict covid protocols.

Thirty artists and two galleries will be participating, an extraordinary number for a small town. Prince Albert Open Studios is an opportunity to have a window into the worlds of the artists, and understand their inspirations and processes, as well as to view their latest work.

What is it about Prince Albert, a small desert town but with constantly flowing water from the Swartberg, that attracts so many artists? Does the environment inform their work? And if so, how?

When asked, responses are naturally varied. Many come for the vastness of the Karoo landscape and the clear light, pure and unpolluted; there’s the freedom to be yourself, to explore wild places that awe and inspire, like the magnificence of the ancient prehistoric mountains of the Swartberg. Some love to forage for bones, pieces of metal, shards of pottery and glass, connections with the past, to include in their work.

Janet Dirksen – ‘Renewable Energy’ (Oil on Canvas, 102x76x4cm)

For many, it’s the simplicity of life in a quiet town, with its historical architecture and profusion of flowers, where the status symbols of city living are largely irrelevant. The artists’ works reflect of all these contrasting elements.
Above all, perhaps, it’s the support that people in small towns offer each other, that creates a sense of community and safety. Creativity attracts creative people, and thus a community of artists “happens”, organically. After all Prince Albert Open Studios is run by the artists for the artists.
At 6 pm on Wednesday 6 January, the Prince Albert Gallery (which has recently moved to a beautiful new venue) will host an opening to a group exhibition featuring a piece from each participating artist. Following this is a creative feast – four days of visiting artists in their studios, galleries, land art installation routes and labyrinths!

Rebecca Haysom – The Enchanted Skirt (mixed media on paper, 2017)

January 2021 Participants are: Cobus van Bosch, Collette Hurt, Deidre Maree, Di Johnson-Ackerman, Di Smith, Di van der Riet Steyn, Erika van Zyl, Gita Claassen, Heleen de Haas, Janet Dirksen, John O’Sullivan, Joshua Miles, Karoo Looms, Kashief Booley (Striking Metal), Kevin de Klerk, Louisa Punt-Fouche, Louis Botha, Mariana Botha, Mary Anne Botha, Pat Hyland, Philip Willem Badenhorst, Prince Albert Community Trust (featuring artists, Elcado Blom and Selwyn Maans), Rebecca Haysom, Sally Arnold, Sam Reinders, Sonja Fourie, Sue Hoppe, Sue Savage, Turid Bergstedt, Prince Albert Gallery, and Watershed Gallery.

Disciplines include painting, photography, printmaking, botanical fine art, sculpture, ceramics, assemblage, found objects, mixed media, collage, papier mache, jewellery design, letter art & calligraphy, land art, functional art, blacksmith/forging, weaving, handmade knives and kaleidoscopes.

Visit our website for more details and information about individual participants.

Dates: Thursday 7th – Sunday 10th January 2021
Times: 9am – 1pm & 3pm – 6pm
Facebook: Prince Albert Open Studios
Instagram: @prince_albert_open_studios

Book your accommodation on and

Rebecca Haysom – The Enchanted Skirt (mixed media on paper, 2017)


Top Image: Artist-blacksmith Kashief Booley Lower Image: Botanical fine artist and designer, Sally Arnold in her studio


Top Image: Angora by photographer Samantha Reinders Lower Image: A corner of Di Smith’s studio


Top Image: Deidre Maree in her studio Lower Image: Diane Johnson-Ackerman – Verlatenheid (Etching on paper, 2020)


Prince Albert Gallery