What: FynArts Festival
Where: Hermanus, Western Cape
When: FynArts 2024 was June 7-17. FynArts 2025 is happening June 7-19, 2024

To apply: E-mail a proposal to festival director, Mary Faure fynarts@hermanus.co.za 
Website: https://hermanusfynarts.co.za/  
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/HermanusFynarts/
Instagram: @hermanus_fynarts
Twitter:  @HermanusFynArts
Website: https://hermanusfynarts.co.za/   

I wonder what it is about FynArts Hermanus that I love so much, even though it is winter festival.  Ahh yes, now I remember – it isn’t during school holidays.  Less traffic.  A more peaceful Hermanus, not the December Hermanus even the locals flee from.  So once again it was wonderfully invigorating to be at FynArts 2024 in this stunningly beautiful town. We had great weather last year, and this year was no different.  Cool nights, sunny days.  Perfect. 

The annual festival is a fusion of winter school (workshops, talks, lectures, cooking classes) and  performance, books, food and wine.   For the 2024 FynArts, performance included comedy (the incomparable Marc Lottering [https://www.facebook.com/share/r/mMucfTqzzzUjZfWf/], classical music, opera and theatre. South African born actress, Bo Petersen who now lives in the USA, presented her poignant autobiographical play, Pieces of Me in the Hermanus Municipal Auditorium. See interview with Petersen: https://vm.tiktok.com/ZMrMAMohX/ See mini review of the show, ahead of its run in Cape Town in July at the Baxter https://thecaperobyn.co.za/stage-bo-petersen-returns-to-the-stage-in-pieces-of-me-baxter-studio/ and interview on https://vm.tiktok.com/ZMrMAMohX/

The municipal auditorium was the festival hub.  The banqueting foyer was packed with people, sipping coffee, wine (a lot of wine) and perusing books which were featured during the festival. Internationally renowned South African writer Christopher Hope headed up several events. Hope who lives in France, made the presentation the FynArts Legacy Award for 2024 to William Kentridge. In 2023, Pieter Dirk-Uys received the award. Who will be the recipient for 2025?  We will have to wait and see. Next year, FynArts 2025 is taking place over 11 days from June 7-19 so lock those dates in now and reserve a room.

In a sense, for me Fyn Arts is bookended by two of the town’s landmark hotels, the Windsor and the Marine. We stayed at the charming heritage Windsor Hotel (established in 1896).  Its grand façade faces the ocean vista of Walker Bay and the harbour. Read more here. https://thecaperobyn.co.za/review-the-heritage-windsor-hotel-in-hermanus-is-charming-and-welcoming/ The Windsor is a huge supporter of FynArts and hosts exhibitions, talks and events as does the magnificent Marine Hotel.

Sculpture on the Cliffs is the annual public art exhibition and is FynArts’ flagship exhibition. Gearing’s Point which is diagonally opposite the Windsor is the site for Sculpture on the Cliffs.  The Point was used as a lookout for fishermen who were coming into the old harbour in Hermanus.

This year, 2024, there are 11 artists exhibiting. FynArts wrapped up on June 17 but Sculpture on the Cliffs stays up until next FynArts – ie June 2025, when another cohort of artists will place their works on the cliffs. See videos: https://www.facebook.com/share/p/jTt43TPMR4FQapXH/ and https://www.facebook.com/share/r/e49pC6sBVGWjA3xF/ and https://vm.tiktok.com/ZMrM789GL/

Sculpture on the Cliffs is curated by Melvyn Minnaar who is FynArts maven. He also hosts art events and wine and food pairing session at the five star Marine Hotel which is one of Leading Hotels Of The World® and for good reason.  It truly is a luxurious, and what an appropriate setting to view the two exhibitions which the hotel hosted during FynArts – Indoor Sulpture and bonsai.

Circling back to the geography of FynArts, behind the strip of hotels on Marine Drive is the town with its galleries, restaurants, coffee spots and boutique stores and bookshops. Mention must be made of the Courtyard Galleries where you will find the FynArts Gallery which hosts the annual FynArts Festival Artist. This year, the artist was Joburg based Mikhael Subotzky.  Curated by the Subotzky Studio and Goodman Gallery, this exhibition “drew from his early photographic works and recent related collage and works on canvas.” The exhibition included a series on Beaufort West and an intriguing series, with enactments of an experience of a discovery that he had in Hermanus. Watch video here. https://vm.tiktok.com/ZMrM7L17M/

How long does one need at FynArts? I would say that at least three nights is advisable to give time to meander the walk, enjoy Sculpture on the Cliffs, the art, and take in shows and enjoy the food and wine and shopping (includes wonderful craft, honey, clothing, and nurseries). A great deal at FynArts is free.There is no admission fee for Sculpture OnThe Cliffs, the exhibitions at the hotels and in the town and many of the performances are offered at no charge. Mention must be made that many of the workshops are fully subscribed each year. For 2024 , workshops included floral art and bonsai. Performance on stage also sell out as tickets are limited. For instance we attended the sold out delightful Victor Borge Tribute award, presented by award winning pianist Winand Grundling.

FynArts has been expanding its live performances programme in recent years and this is due to public demand. Hermanus has an estimated resident population of 83,000 [https://worldpopulationreview.com/world-cities/hermanus-population], and the festival is rapidly drawing visitors from around the world as part of wider tours, as well as from other parts of South Africa. It would be a mistake to think you can pitch up at the last minute and get in to shows. 

How does one get featured at FynArts as a performer, speaker, workshop facilitator? E-mail Mary Faure, the festival director with proposals and ideas and importantly sponsor proposals. Her details are in the box on this page.

Hermanus at just under two hours drive from Cape Town is a very attractive deal for creatives in the Cape. The ocean and harbour setting is stunning. The town is convivial and everyone is invested in making FynArts a success. Wherever I went, proprietors spoke with pride about FynArts: See https://vm.tiktok.com/ZMrM7RmX5/

There is loads of accommodation ranging from the plush Marine Hotel to self-catering and budget accommodation. As far as I am aware, FynArts is the only annual ocean based arts festival in the Cape. Mary Faure and her team are open to suggestions. The aim is to grow the festival, to diversify, to develop community arts during the festival period and sustain that all year round. FynArts is a vital activator for the area, inviting visitors during the winter months – and giving them a lot more than watching whales. And yes, we did see whales while having our breakfast one morning.   Congrats to team FynArts, especially to the many volunteers who make the festival run smoothly.

FynArts 2024 hub: The festival hub was at the Hermanus Municipal Auditorium. Pic © TheCapeRobyn/Robyn Cohen, June 2024.
FynArts 2024 books: Writer Christopher Hope in the Hermanus Municipal Auditorium, before the sold out Victor Borge tribute by presented by award winning pianist Winand Grundling. Pic © TheCapeRobyn/Robyn Cohen, June 2024.
FynArts 2024 music: “For the love of music”. A beautiful venue at FynArts is a private home in Fernwood Village. Pic © TheCapeRobyn/Robyn Cohen, June 2024.
FynArts 2024 performance: Team Pieces of Me, written and performed by Bo Petersen. This photo was taken at the Windsor Hotel. © TheCapeRobyn/Robyn Cohen, June 2024. See interview: See mini review of the show, ahead of its run in Cape Town in July at the Baxter https://thecaperobyn.co.za/stage-bo-petersen-returns-to-the-stage-in-pieces-of-me-baxter-studio/ and interview on https://vm.tiktok.com/ZMrMAMohX/
Pic © TheCapeRobyn/Robyn Cohen, June 2024.
FynArts 2024 ceramics: The stunning Chromatic Clay Ceramic exhibition at the Windsor Hotel. Pic © TheCapeRobyn/Robyn Cohen, June 2024.
FynArts 2024 sculpture: Indoor Sculpture exhibition at the Marine Hotel. Pic © TheCapeRobyn/Robyn Cohen, June 2024.
FynaArts director: Mary Faure festival director and founder.
Pic © TheCapeRobyn/Robyn Cohen, June 2024.

✳ Featured image: Sculpture on the Cliffs at FynArts 2024 at Gearings Point. This sculpture, Collecting sea water is by land artist, Strijdom van der Merwe. Images © TheCapeRobyn/Robyn Cohen, June 2024.