Where creative energy meets

THERE is a new place in town that exudes creative energy. Since Bellavista opened its doors last year it has become home to artists in and around Johannesburg.

THERE is a new place in town that exudes creative energy. Since Bellavista opened its doors last year it has become home to artists in and around Johannesburg.

This place probably also provides the best view of Johannesburg. Situated on the top floor of the Spar supermarket building in Troyeville, it gives a lovely view of the Johannesburg skyline.

It is just a stone's throw from Ellis Park Stadium, one of the host stadiums for the Fifa World Cup soccer jamboree that starts on June 11.

The atmosphere inside Bellavista is cheery and the ambience artistic. At night, if you want to have the best view of a lit-up Joburg, you should go to the rooftop of Bellavista.

On Mondays, if you are looking for intellectual stimulation, the venue hosts Monday Blues, an artistic concept that has been running now for several years and has introduced some of the hottest bands and musicians in the country.

You will enjoy excellent performances by poets, comedians and musicians jamming together. The sessions attract artists from Pretoria and Johannesburg's surrounding townships, who come to show their artistic skills.

Here there is no pretence and the artists and audience do not judge each other. Everything and anything goes.

This is a place where musicians can do their thing and rest assured that their peers will not snigger. The venue is also used often by young and emerging talent to practise how to perform on stage.

I was there on Monday.

A number of musicians performed. Some were well-known while others were new to the arts industry.

I witnessed first hand how actress Cindy Simpson wowed audiences.

It was obvious that besides her acting skills, which she has displayed both on stage and television for several years now, Simpson is also a great singer.

Another musician who showed both her singing and guitar skills was Kgomotso Tsatsi. You must remember her great showing during the Pop-Idols competition a few years ago. Not only did she impress the audience with her guitar riffs, but her voice is beautiful too.

There are lots of surprises at Bellavista's Monday Blues.

For example, did you know that journalist Thabiso Leshoai fancies himself a musician? On Monday, he demonstrated both his guitar skills and vocal abilities. And he is actually fairly good at both.

Besides the performances, this artistic space offers people an opportunity to network.

For example, while I was there, I bumped into young art scholar Andile Magengelele, who was at pains to explain that a culturally vibrant city such as Johannesburg, like any city in the world, including London where he completed his post graduate studies in art recently, needs an artistic director.

"An artistic director would be Johannesburg's face of the art, designing its art programme and content.

"It should not be someone who sits in an office and deals with administration issues, but someone who deals with art issues.

"I have seen this in Western cities. We need to do the same here," he said and added that he is willing to help establish such an office.

Monday Blues takes place every Monday at 9pm.