Art.b Gallery, also known as The Arts Association of Bellville, is a NPO: Non Profit Organization, and a branch of SANAVA (South African Association of Visual Arts).
The Arts Association of Bellville was founded on 27 August 1957. 45 people attended the first meeting, where the Constitution was accepted. 8 members were elected, with Mr. A van Wyk serving as the first Chairman.
During the first decade the Association held numerous fund raising events, involving the public as well as the municipality of Bellville. Various artists were approached, such as late Mr T.O. Honniball, and their works were exhibited in the foyer of the Municipality library in Kruskal Street, Bellville.
In 1989 the prestigious Bellville Art Gallery and Art Centre were established in the present library Centre, initiated by the late Mr Burgert Naude. Curator and assistant posts were created by the City Council of Bellville, serving the needs of the public.
On 22 February 1990, Ms. Marilyn Martin, then Director of Iziko Museum, opened a prestigious Gala Art Exhibition at the gallery featuring works of amongst others, William Kentridge, Conrad Theys and Frans Claerhout.
The annual VULEKA ART COMPETITION was established by this gallery in 1963 – drawing entries from now prominent artists such as William Kentridge (Winner 1980), Sue Williamson, Christo Coetzee, Pippa Skotnes and Andries Gouws. Renowned artist Conrad Theys has sponsored VULEKA for many years, and the first prize is now known as the Conrad Theys prize.
The Gallery consists of the Main Gallery and the Vestibule. The combined exhibition space is approximately 420 square meters, with excellent natural and electrical light. The Art Centre provides for various art disciplines, including pottery, drawing, painting, photography and life drawing classes. It also caters for disadvantaged and disabled learners.
For almost 60 years, the gallery and art centre have served as a hub of cultural and community activities, offering art exhibitions of high standing such as the Absa L’Atelier, workshops, art classes and music concerts.