Stellenbosch Outdoor Sculpture Trust is a non-profit organisation supported by generous contributions from individuals, foundations, and corporations. It brings contemporary art to a broad audience in Stellenbosch by mounting free exhibitions of international scope that offer the public powerful experiences with art and the urban environment.
Monuments, memorials and civic statuary are the oldest forms of officially sanctioned public art. The term public art refers to works of art in any media that have been planned and executed with the intention of being sited or staged in the physical public domain. It is often out of doors and accessible to all.
Stellenbosch blazed the trail for outdoor art with local land artist Strijdom van der Merwe's red-wrapped trees in the historic Dorp Street in 2007. Hot on his heels followed Dylan Lewis, also a Stellenbosch artist, who exhibited his bronze sculptures across the centre of the town until 2010. In 2011 this was followed by the outdoor exhibition 20Stellenbosch: South African Sculpture of the Last Two Decades, which included artwork mainly from the NIROX Foundation, and which showcased the achievements of contemporary South African sculptors over the past twenty years. Metalwork: Public Art in Stellenbosch II built on the success of these shows. With the cooperation of the Stellenbosch Municipality once again, outdoor sculptures were placed at approved locations in the historic town centre. By placing these works of art in unexpected places out of doors, the Trust aims to create public awareness of the interplay between art, architecture and public spaces; make art accessible to everybody; and bring established artists and new talent to the people.