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About Us

The PJ Olivier Art Centre is a Western Cape Education Department institution where Creative Arts, Visual Art and Design, subjects that form part of the National Curriculum for Grades 7 to 12 learners, are presented. We also provide informal classes in Art to Grades 1-7 learners.


The PJ Olivier Art Centre was established in 1953 and was named after a former administrator of the old Cape Province. The first home of the Art Centre was in the Fernbank Villa in Van Riebeeck Street, Stellenbosch, where we started with only a handful of learners. In 1967 the Art Centre moved to its current location in Blom Street, on the historical Braak.

The buildings which house the Art Centre have been declared a national monument and are regarded as one of the historical treasures of Stellenbosch. The original single story building was built before 1817. Additions to enlarge it were made between 1880 and 1890. These additions were made in order to house the growing Rhenish Institute. The Annex building which was previously used to house the classrooms and school hall of the Rhenish Institute was built in 1905. The stately architecture and surrounding gardens of the Art Centre offer a peaceful atmosphere which stimulates the imagination and encourages creative activities.


What we do

The PJ Olivier Art Centre is one of only a few art centres in South Africa. Over the past few decades, art centres were established as institutions of excellence because of the high standards maintained by educators and learners alike, as well as a result of the many achievements on both national and international level.

The PJ Olivier Art Centre forms an integral part of the Stellenbosch community regarding Art Education. We are committed to providing the best possible Art Education to our learners and maintaining the very good reputation that the Art Centre has acquired through inspired teaching, hard work and leadership over 50 years.

We believe in focusing on the aesthetic education of the holistic person rather than only on providing a technically orientated ‘education’ or rather training in the productive skills. This means that the stimulation and development of the individual’s creative thoughts, critical capacity and visual literacy enjoys priority above the mere ‘production’ of artworks which flow naturally from the creative process.

We are a proud service provider for about 16 schools in the greater Stellenbosch and surrounding areas and offer curricular and extracurricular courses in Visual Arts and Design to learners from grades 1 to 12.

Our Vision

To provide inclusive art education to all learners of our multicultural society and to play an exemplary and guiding role in adding value to people’s lives.

Our Mission

To serve as a link between learners, parents and the public of Stellenbosch.
To develop creative thought and problem-solving skills among people so that greater awareness of themselves and the environment is encouraged.


During our existence since 1953, the Art Centre has been highly honoured, in many ways, for our learners’ achievements – the Art Centre was elected to receive the medal for the ‘school’ who submitted the best junior school art for the International Exhibition of School Art in Lidici in the Czech Republic in 1998 and again in 1999. Our contributing learners were proud to receive their individual awards from such an august competition. On numerous occasions some of our learners have taken part in international exhibitions in Spain, Japan and North America.

Our learners excel annually in the Stellenbosch Eisteddfod in both the Design and Visual Arts categories. A select few of the learners have been the proud recipients of the National SANAVA Trophy for Excellence in Visual Arts and Design.

Matric achievements in Visual Arts and Design:

2010— 79 Matrics—40 candidates pass with distinction
2011— 94 Matrics—41 candidates pass with distinction
2012— 79 Matrics—38 candidates pass with distinction
2013— 80 Matrics—43 candidates pass with distinction
2014— 79 Matrics—43 candidates pass with distinction
2015— 65 Matrics—44 candidates pass with distinction
2016 – 72 Matrics – 39 candidates pass with distinction
2017 – 86 Matrics – 54 candidates pass with distinction

Talent is good. Practice is better. Passion is best. – Frank Lloyd Wright