In 2013, Stellenbosch Outdoor Sculpture Trust (SOST) launched KickstART, an educational outreach programme. KickstART aims to make a long-term contribution and commitment towards the development of vulnerable youth in and around Stellenbosch community by exposing them to career opportunities in the arts and creative industries. This aim is achieved through bursary programmes, holistically supporting and developing participants, inspiring future vision and dreams and enabling them to reach their full potential. Through interactive, art-related workshops which include tours of the public art in Stellenbosch, a highly-experienced curatorial panel identifies learners who show exceptional creative talent to partake in an art bursary and mentorship programme.
“We looked at the work that the children were producing and realised that they deserved a chance to advance their skills…We were just overwhelmed by their enthusiasm and the originality of their work. ” Dirkie Offringa, curator of SOST.
Bursaries include classes at the PJ Olivier Art Centre in Stellenbosch, along with all materials and art supplies, private transport to and from class, a meal on the days they have class, and career counselling and guidance from Welgevallen Community Clinic at Stellenbosch University. What makes the bursary programme unique is that each child is allocated a mentor who has been carefully selected to match their unique needs to prevent programme dropout and provide additional support to participants.
“We are there to make their lives a little easier… Studying can be very daunting, and we are there to boost confidence, and to help ensure that these children reach their full potential. ” Elmarie Sola, KickstART mentor.
KickstART’s members include a collective of more than 40 volunteers, including artists, arts activists, teachers, child psychologists and academics. What began as the educational arm of SOST has grown to include support from many organisations in Stellenbosch, including the Arts Association, Stellenbosch360, the PJ Olivier art school, the Spier Arts Academy, the University’s Sasol Art Museum, the Stellenbosch Municipality, the University of Stellenbosch and Deloitte.