What we do
Proactive growth initiator in the creative economy
Who we are
Our Journey – Where we’ve come from
The Arts & Culture Trust (ACT) has been actively serving the arts and culture sector in all 9 provinces of South Africa for 28 years in the form of development and grant making.
The value of this legacy lies not only in the longevity and sustainability of the organisation, but the fact that the organisation prides itself in keeping up with trends across the arts sector and therefore includes emerging disciplines that are critical to the future survival and growth of the industry.
Although the ACT was known as the Arts and Culture Trust of the President when it opened its doors in 1994, it now functions completely independent of government as a registered non-profit organisation. Not only does the majority of its support come from the private sector and ACT’s investment portfolio, but the organisation is an influencer in the sector, with a reputation that lends credibility to the initiatives and organisations it becomes involved with.
Where we are going
The Trust has evolved from a traditional grant-making approach to investing in the advancement of the arts and creatives sector.
To this end, the organisation focusses on development and capacity building through professional training and mentorships, as well as and investments in the Cultural and Creative Industry through the support of entrepreneurial activity.
Our goal is to be the Custodians of the Arts in SA, representing the arts industry and their interests by empowering and strengthening partnership networks across communities. This is how we make the arts sustainable.
In 1994, the newly-established Ministry of Arts, Culture, Science and Technology (now the Department of Arts & Culture) responded to an invitation from Nedcor Bank and Sun International to set up a body for arts and culture, similar to the Sports and Green Trusts, which were established earlier. In this way, the first three Founding Trustees came together to secure financial and other resources for arts and culture, and to project the needs and role of the sector into the public domain. Each of the Founding Trustees contributed one million rand, which was invested in a Trust Fund, to ensure sustainability and to minimise dependence on annual grants.At the same time, a Board of Trustees, made up of leading art practitioners and administrators, was established. Its task was to implement the funding policies, to evaluate projects and to decide on funding allocations. Former President Nelson Mandela endorsed the initiative and agreed to serve as the Patron-in-Chief of ACT. In this way, it came to be called the Arts & Culture Trust of the President during his term of office (1994-1999).
During the first five years, two further Founding Trustees – the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands and Vodacom – joined ACT and contributed to the Trust endowment. Thus, the partnership between the private sector, government and local cultural community was extended to include international cooperation.