Melville, Johannesburg – an art mecca?

Visual artist sees the potential in Melville

Bustle in Melville’s iconic Seventh Street.

Once seen as the epicentre of innovation and art in Johannesburg, residents who have been in Melville for a long time regularly lament how the village-like suburb has lost its lustre.

Visual artist and resident Bonnie Walters misses the Melville of old but is tuned into where the popular locale seems to be going.

“It’s a very interesting time,” said Walters, “young, innovative couples are moving back into Melville while the people I know who’ve lived here for a long time are not leaving. It is still the number one destination for young travellers from overseas.”

Walters went on to explain that Arts on Main in Maboneng District is becoming the new place but with more and more young people moving to Melville the atmosphere is ripe for another creative wave.

“There was no other place; people would come to Melville for the best music, the narrow streets made it very intimate and there were no empty spaces to rent. I hate pretence so how fantastic that the artists here even today are so real and love the community so much? I love to book space here and bring more people to Melville also” she said of her exhibition at Bamboo Centre on Ninth Avenue.

“There are still lots of updates to be done, especially the central area which needs to be updated. With The Leopard moving to Fourth Avenue and other best rated places here, people are happy to be back and its feels good to just come to Melville again. It can become a serious contender again and regain some of its former glory.”

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