OPENLab is a bi-annual artist lab lead by Paul Gazzola for early and mid-career South African artists who are interested in creating work in the public domain. It is an open and intensive residency platform aimed at generating new strategies and ideas in site specific, experimental and interdisciplinary practice.

OPENLab takes place at the University of the Free State in Bloemfontein alongside the Vrystaat Art Festival plus a week long residency at Modern Art Projects (MAP), Richmond in the Northern Cape.

OPENLab is part of PIAD – Program for Innovation in Artform Development, an experimental arts and community engaged initiative of the Vrystaat Arts Festival and UFS – University of the Free State, generously funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. The program was initially developed in 2014 by Paul Gazzola & Carli Leimbach and funded by the Australia Council for the Arts and the National Lottery Distribution Fund.

OPENLab is a nurturing, supportive and responsive space for artists and facilitators to exchange, share and explore new ideas. It is an is investment in future practices, creative networks and professional development.

Funders/Project partners: The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, Map – Modern Art Projects South Africa & OSCA

2014: The Art of Being Public / 18 – 27 July 2014

Guest facilitators: Nadia CusimanoBec Dean,  Jay Pather & Phillipa Tumubweinee 

Participating Artists –  Kira Kemper, Sethembile Msezane, Nadja Daehnke, Elgin Rust, Lesiba Mabitsela, Wayne Reddiar, Adelheid Camilla von Maltitz, Nieke Lombard, Sandile Radebe, Roxy Anne Kawitzky, Francois Knoetze, Siphumeze Tafari Khundayi, Sonia Radebe, Gavin Krastin & Phumlani Ntuni.

Publication #1 : As part of Modern Art Projects black book series

2016: The Art of Being Social / 14 – 24 July 2016

Guest facilitators – Abrie Fourie, Ella ZeiglerKhanyisile Mbongwa & Lesiba Mabitsela

Participating Artists – Janet Botes, Johandi du Plessis, Kai Losgott, Karin & Skye, Kathleen Sawyer, Kivithra Naicker, Lehlohonolo Dube, Nomusa Mtshali, Scott Eric Williams, Victoria Wigzell, Wezile Mgibe & Yazeen Kamaldein

Publication #2: As part of Modern Art Projects black book series

2018: The Art of Making / 11 – 22 July 2018

Guest facilitators – Sethembile Msezane & Ella Zeigler

Participating Artists – Anastasia Pather, Baba Tjeko, Jarrett Erasmus, Kagiso Kekana, Lorin Sookool, Louise Coetzer, Marius Jansen van Vuuren, Nondumiso Msimang, Nosipho Mtabani, Palesa Sibiya, Sonia Rademeyer, Tsediso Kabulu & Ukhona Mlandu.

Artists Involved

Project Partners

Vrystaat Arts Festival
M.A.P. – Modern Art Projects South Africa
Program for Innovation in Artform Development
University of the Free State – Bloemfontein
The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation
The Australia Council

Related Projects


Our mission is to provide artists and non-artists with opportunities to create contemporary works that explore local ideas and new way of coming together in the public domain.

OSCA acknowledges we work on Kaurna Land – always was, always will be.

OSCA is funded by Arts South Australia. We also receive project support from the Australia Council, the City of Port Adelaide Enfield, Country Arts SA and the City of Onkaparinga.