Art boost for ’Plain pupils

Pictured, back from left, are art teacher assistants Brent February, Cassidy Herwel, Keshia Roelofse and Tazwin October. In front arepPupils Joshua Coetzee, teacher Mark Jeneker and pupil Logan Mason Thebus.

Art education in Mitchell’s Plain has received a financial boost.

One of the primary beneficiaries is an afterschool art class by the Mark Jeneker Foundation at Portland Primary School, where children from different schools come to learn different art techniques and forms.

The Foundation received a grant of R50 000 support through the City of Cape Town’s Arts and Culture Branch’s (ACB) Grants-in-Aid fund (GIA) for the 2022-2023 financial year.

These funds will be used for the after school art and craft education programme, including two classes a week and hosting three art exhibitions.

Mayoral committee member for committee for service and health Patricia van der Ross said additionally, the funds would be stretched to art awareness and appreciation field trips to selected art institutions between June and December this year.

The programme targets children and youth, with an estimated attendance of 50 to 60 children per class per day.

The expected maximum attendance, considering adjusted class schedules, is 3 360 pupils, from Mitchell’s Plain and surrounding areas.

The City’s department will also assist free art and craft holiday programme – during the September and December breaks at Town Centre Library.

Lentegeur artist Mark Jeneker, and foundation director, was excited about completing an art teacher leadership workshop, where he mentored teaching assistants on different art techniques, skills and support mechanisms.

There are two workshops scheduled for this year, aimed at facilitating the selection of two learners for the leadership programme.

These workshops will be conducted at Portland Primary school and will have a participation range of six to 10 participants.

Ms Van Der Ross said the workshops also contributed to ongoing interest in art education as a career path and to provide employment and educational opportunities.

“The City of Cape Town’s ACB invited applications for funding from arts, culture, and heritage organisations within its jurisdiction. The focus was on projects that contribute to building hope through sustainable cultural development, with consideration for cultural, social, economic, and environmental outcomes. Priority was given to projects benefiting young people (ages 7-35) and vulnerable groups, which include women, children, senior citizens, and persons with disabilities,“ she said.

Other supported organisations in Mitchell’s Plain, include The Blaqpearl Foundation, The St Joseph’s Christmas Band, Salesian Institute Youth Projects, Assitej South Africa, Dance for All, Centre For Early Childhood Development and Africa South Art Initiative (ASAI).

Ms Van Der Ross said there were a number of ACB projects or programmes that the art mentors, from the Foundation may apply to participate in, including the Emerging Artists Programme.

“Additionally, the Mark Jeneker Foundation may apply for further funding to continue the work on this project when ACB releases its annual grants-in-aid call,” she said.

Mr Jeneker said he was glad to be sharing his talent, skill and time with the community to prevent youth from ending up on the streets, on drugs and in gangsterism.

“I know what it is like and I want to give back,” he said.

They will be taught visual art, including using pencils, charcoal, pastels, paint and sculpting.

Mr Jeneker said about 11 years ago he went to the library to make some changes in his life but was high on drugs while speaking to children there.

“No ladder can climb to that height but I made a change,” he said.

Mr Jeneker said he had dropped out of school in Grade 8, due to gang violence in Hanover Park (“’Plain artist sparks creativity”, Plainsman, January 28, 2015).

He also thanked Portland Primary School principal Eleanor Braaf for her support and availing a classroom for the foundation to teach children.

By the end of September he will be hosting another art class at another venue to ensure children all over Mitchell’s Plain get to benefit.

To donate and for more information call Mr Jeneker on 078 637 8853.