Arts & Culture Trust

20 De Korte Street, Johannesburg, Gauteng, South Africa


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The Arts & Culture Trust (ACT) is South Africa’s premier independent arts and culture funding and development non-profit organisation.


Proactive agents of change in the creative economy

ACT is democratic South Africa’s first organisation to create public-public partnerships that serve the arts, culture and creative sector. Today, ACT administers five programmes sponsored by partners in the public and private sectors to create targetted, tangible outcomes for the sector.

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.

Today, ACT functions independent of government and the majority of its support comes from the private sector and ACT’s investment portfolio.


Act Awards

The Arts & Culture Trust (ACT) Awards are held annually in recognition and celebration of excellence in South African arts, culture and creativity. Since 1998, the ACT Awards have celebrated many individuals and organisations that have made a significant contribution to cultural life in South Africa.

Building Blocks

The ACT Building Blocks Programme aims to build the capacity of South African artists and arts, culture and heritage organisations. The programme aims to strengthen the infrastructure that supports the sector. The ACT Building Blocks Programme achieves its aims by transferring skills in leadership, marketing, governance and monitoring & evaluation.

Creative Conference

The Arts & Culture Trust (ACT) invites dancers to attend its Creative (un)Conference taking place on Saturday, 20 July in Maboneng, Johannesburg. The rigorous programme is a professional development workshop for dancers in their first 3 years of professional practice who are looking to raise their career profile and develop their business acumen as individual performers or choreographers.

Development Grant

The ACT Development Programme is the Arts and Culture Trust’s flagship programme and has been in existence since 1994. In 2017, the ACT Development Programme was changed to comprise of discipline-specific grants and postgraduate bursaries. With support from the Nedbank Arts Affinity, the ACT Development Programme has supported more than 800 organisations and projects nationwide over the past 25 years- a contribution valued at more than R23 000 000 in total.

DALRO - Nedbank Scholarships

Funded by Nedbank and the Dramatic, Artistic and Literary Rights Organisation (DALRO), supported by The Market Theatre Foundation and administered by the ACT, the ACT | DALRO | Nedbank Scholarships Programme strives to nurture young talent and provide tertiary education opportunities to young people who have their sights set on pursuing performance and visual arts training. Scholarships of R50 000 in the categories of visual art, singing, acting, musical theatre and dance are granted annually through this programme.


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20 De Korte Street, Johannesburg, Gauteng, South Africa

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