Illuminating the arts – Business and Arts South Africa’s Young Business Professionals Programme

How does one become an artist? One goes to university, participates in an internship or even just picks up a brush to teach oneself. A similar path can be said for those wanting to enter into the business world. One can get a degree, start their own business or become an entrepreneur. Yet questions less discussed are those of how one working within the business field can become a serious connoisseur of the arts? Even the question of how an artist can become better astute within business practices cannot be ignored.

The business sector is taking local talents very seriously. No longer are artworks being relegated to the hanging office halls looking pretty in buildings, they have become a major investor within the art. Standard Bank is a example of such partnerships with their gallery having recently hosted the legendary French master Henri Matisse.

Business cannot be seen as separate from the arts and both fields play a major role sustaining each other. There is a new wave of African artists taking the international art scene by storm! South Africa has become a leading contender in nourishing this new movement of artists.

Business and Arts South Africa (BASA) have taken on this challenge through their Young Business Professionals Programme (YBPP).  Their vision “is to be the leading connector catalyst and resource that supports a better understanding by business of the arts, and continues to advocate an arts culture in our society”.

Our local markets are growing but it’s the art buying audience that still has a long way to go.  Our local art markets, though growing, are very much exclusive to a wealthier older market. Now is the time to take serious a new generation of art lovers and buyers. BASA is a part of an Arts development movement that’s investing not only in the making of arts but also in the expansion of an art buyers market in South Africa.

The arts can be somewhat puzzling and seemingly nonsensical phenomena for those not accustomed to its flamboyant eccentricities. It’s no easy task identifying the works whose investments will result in greater outcomes in future and guidance is a must for anyone circumnavigating its creative seas. It’s also a difficult task accessesing the necessary funding not just as an artist looking to make works but also a buyer looking to invest in the creative arts.

Arthur Nkuna who interned at BASA in 2011 before moving into the banking sector would have this to say about his experience in the program:

“My year as a BASA intern and personal passion for the arts, combined with my recent four years in the corporate sector, have given me a unique perspective on what is needed to build lasting bridges between the arts and business when it comes to those who are in their first decade or so of working.”

New professionals from a variety of industries can learn unique ways to engage in the arts becoming champions within the creative industry. It provides a space in which those in business and creatives can interact, nurturing a community with awareness and a commitment to the arts.

At a recent master class evening hosted at the SOMA gallery in Maboneng , YBPP attendee Tshepo Masego discusses how the programme  helped him understand what it meant do to business within the creative sector:

“When I come to these events the information that I get is always in line with what I do in terms of my career. I am in the art space but in terms of art, these events that I do, there is a lot of business behind it. So it always starts with the creative ideas which are the arts and then it formulates into the business concepts where we then have to got to get funding, talk to sponsors. There is the logistical side to the project management side of it. So for me these [master classes] are giving me ideas on how to improve how I work.”

The YBPP activities include various networking events, workshops with master classes and interactive learning within the arts. It also hosts Art and Business and incubation event as well as monthly invites to art exhibitions where participants get to foster their appreciation of the arts.

Arthur also explains how this  “programme has been created for those who want to take an active role in the arts, creative business and innovation sector. BASA recognizes the importance of this younger demographic in creating sustainable shared value between business and the arts in a powerful and lasting way.”

The programme is open to young professionals between 24 and 36 with at least a year worth of experience in their industry. When they “sign up for the programme they will gain insight into the role of the arts in stimulating ROI, social cohesion and nation building in society, along with the personal enjoyment and growth they will experience by being part of this exciting initiative. Once they leave the official programme, we hope that the young professionals will have been inducted into the creative world and will move into other areas of BASA’s work – including the BASA BoardBank, BASA Mentorship programme, and more.”

Please join BASA’s YBPP at their next event on the 5th of November, held in conjunction with Strauss & Co for a champagne preview of leading South African and International works. The event will be hosted at the Wanderers Club, Ballroom, 21 North Street, Illovo in Johannesburg.

To RSVP to the event or To join the Business and Arts South Africa’s Young Business Professionals please contact:

For more information on the program or to apply online please visit the BASA website.



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