The pursuit of art and music should not be viewed as a luxury; every single person deserves to have an opportunity to express themselves, no matter what income bracket they fall into. The Rural Arts Network is an NGO which aims to make that goal into a reality.
Their mission statement is simple: “to provide youth and families in rural South Africa with access to arts development programmes that are both inspirational and educational in various mediums.” The Rural Arts Network offers lessons in a variety of subjects ranging from music and dancing to art and drama.
Projects like the Rural Arts Network are vital for the growth of arts and culture in South Africa. There are still far too many people in this country who cannot afford to study the arts. And why should they be deprived just because of the lack of money?
If you’d like to become involved with the Rural Arts Network, check out their website for more details.
Having worked with the local Elgin Learning Foundation for several years, arts queen extraordinaire Betsie Ryke founded the Rural Arts Network in 2014. Specializing in music and arts education, Betsie oversees the day-to-day running of the organisation as well as music activities like marimba and choir classes. She is passionate about education and sees the field of creative arts as a powerful tool to develop and empower our children and youth to help shape their future. Her hope is to use the organisation to bring the arts to more rural areas throughout South Africa beyond its current reach in the Elgin/Grabouw community.
Reagan has been heavily involved in the life of the Elgin/Grabouw community for several years now. He has a passion for investing in the youth in the area and providing them with creative outlets to channel their passions and talent. Reagan’s strong suit is music: he engages in activities such as drumming, marimbas, rock bands and dance. He has been an integral part of the Rural Arts Network since it originated, and is an essential part of the team, both as a facilitator and operational manager.
Reagan has been heavily involved in the life of the Elgin/Grabouw community for several years now. He has a passion for investing in the youth in the area and providing them with creative outlets to channel their passions and talent.
Art guru Melissa Dietstein brings her hands-on creativity to the Rural Arts Network by providing interactive workshops in the visual arts. Melissa is passionate about developing relationships with learners of all ages in the local, rural community. She oversees art classes in several local schools and also runs an arts and crafts group for elderly women on local farms dubbed Granny Smiths, which is one of her favourite projects with RAN. Melissa heads up the art department of the organisation – bringing tireless energy and new ideas to the team.
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