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“Even breathing the air in Paris changed my life. It changed the way I think, and it changed my work” - Marina Louw (South African Cité resident).

The South African National Association for the Visual Arts (SANAVA) is a non-profit organisation that administers three residency studio spaces at the Cité Internationale des Arts, Paris, France, for the benefit of all its members. It has been a much-needed inspiration for South African artists since the 1980s.

These studios need to be renovated for the first time in 40 years, and these renovations should last for the next 40 years.

The upgrades are mandatory, and if we cannot pay for our renovations, we need to permanently return our studios to the Cité, and they will be lost to South African artists forever.  

A French company must undertake all restoration and renovation to adhere to safety legislation and labour compliance.  

SANAVA is obliged to raise a total of R3.6 million by June 2022 for the restoration and renovation of the three studios, of which R1.5 million needs to be raised by the end of 2021 so that renovation can proceed according to the program of the Cité. 

It might not seem important to the public to keep these studios, but they are a part of our cultural heritage. These three studios have provided affordable opportunities over the past 40 years for hundreds of South African artists who would otherwise never have had the chance to visit the numerous museums and network with international artists who are also resident at the Cité. 

The Cité annually welcomes up to 1200 artists from 100 countries in more than 300 studios. Artists from all disciplines and curators are hosted for residencies that can last from 2 to 12 months.

The idea is for artists to work and grow while in residence, and the opportunity is not to be used as a cheap holiday. As shown in the images below, the studios are equipped with only the bare necessities, and the renovations would be more for upkeep and maintenance than an upgrade.  

Each SA artist pays the levy of approximately R10 000 a month to live and work in one of the studio spaces. The studios are located along the Seine in the very centre of Paris (within a 1.5km radius of the Louvre, the Pompidou and Notre Dame – see map image).

Artists are also provided with a museum card that allows free access to dozens of Parisian museums, including museums of African, Asian and European art. 

Any SA artist who is a member of SANAVA (approximately R150 a year via one of their nineteen South African branches), and has already shown proof of their artistic merit, may apply to spend a few months at the Cité in Paris. These artists have a life-changing opportunity to live and work in a world metropolis known for its cultural richness.

The artists also host open-studios and exhibitions of their work, where they experience the cultures of, and interact with, artists from all over the world. 

Artists such as Penny Siopis, Diane Victor, Isaac Kanyile, Amita Makan, Wayne Barker, Philiswa Lila, Angus Taylor, Rina Stutzer and Banele Khoza are amongst the hundreds of South African artists who have lived and worked at the Cité.

Any other artists who would like to be Cité residents in the future are encouraged to join SANAVA via their local affiliated arts association and follow the application guidelines. 

SANAVA is a non-profit organisation that depends on funding from funding agencies, donors and affiliation fees, so we urgently need the assistance of all South African art lovers if we are to preserve this aspect of our cultural heritage for another 40 years.

The apartments are held in trust in terms of an Occupational Rights Agreement by the SANAVA Cité des Arts Trust (valid until 2060). Since we have not appealed for any assistance in the preceding 40 years, it is therefore unlikely that we will appeal for any financial assistance until the agreement expires.

For any additional information, the history of SA’s purchase of the studios, and testimonials of SA artists who have been to the Cité, please refer to the links below:é_studio_helpful_hints.pdf

For the international Cité site:


South African National Association for the Visual Arts [SANAVA]  

Registration nr 303-503-NPO / PBO 930 023 486

Member of the International Association of Art / 

Association Internationale des Arts Plastiques (IAA/AIAP)

Social Media Link:





  • Jan 12, 2022 - R 1 000.00
  • "

    For the love of art

    " - Hylett Engelbrecht

  • Jan 02, 2022 - R 5 792.50
  • "The Meerkotter Trust is pleased to donate and will also propose works for the upcoming auction. We must save this opportunity for SA artists " - Dirk Meerkotter Trust

  • Nov 20, 2021 - R 200.00
  • "My little drop in the bucket" - Mariaan Kotze

  • Nov 18, 2021 - R 2 000.00
  • "Save this opportunity for our children and their children" - Rhoda Henning

  • Nov 18, 2021 - USD $ 64.55
  • "I agree it’s so important to keep the SANAVA studios. The Cité stay is very special. " - Marian Hester

  • Nov 12, 2021 - R 500.00
  • "

    Regardless of the difficult fancial 2 years, I want to pay it forward to make my bucket wish list true to go to the Cité hopefully in the future.

    " - Martie Bothma

  • Nov 08, 2021 - USD $ 66.23
  • "This must not be lost... incredible enlightening experience for artists, sorry I cant donate more!" - Judy Fish

  • Nov 07, 2021 - USD $ 15.00
  • "I am sorry that I can’t help more, but I am unable to work but believe in this wholeheartedly " - Gavin Topham

  • Oct 31, 2021 - R 1 000.00
  • "Very important to retain this treasure for South African artists" - Ronel van der Vyver

  • Oct 29, 2021 - R 1 000.00
  • "‘n Skat om te bewaar" - Paula Dubois

  • Oct 27, 2021 - R 200.00
  • "For our artists!" - Hester

  • Oct 26, 2021 - R 150.00
  • "Let’s all stand together " - Kok Louis

  • Oct 19, 2021 - R 200.00
  • "

    Dis ‘n druppel in die emmer.

    " - Hettie

  • Oct 19, 2021 - R 1 000.00
  • "This is too important an asset to South African artists to lose." - Diek Grobler

  • Oct 18, 2021 - R 200.00
  • "" - Ash

  • Oct 18, 2021 - R 1 000.00
  • "This must be saved for future South African arists. " - Chris Koch

  • Oct 18, 2021 - USD $ 6.84
  • "Every little bit helps" - Sonja

  • Oct 18, 2021 - R 500.00
  • "


    " - Dominic

  • Oct 18, 2021 - R 2 000.00
  • "

    Amazing oppertunity for artists

    " - Hardus Hechter

  • Oct 17, 2021 - R 3 000.00
  • "'Wayfind' yourself in Paris (there is nothing as revealing as this)" - Rina Stutzer

  • Oct 13, 2021 - R 1 000.00
  • "This facility must be saved as it has provided opportunity to create so much wonderful art for so many South African Artists. " - Meerkotter

  • Oct 13, 2021 - USD $ 66.81
  • "Good luck!" - Philip Croeser

  • Oct 13, 2021 - USD $ 668.12
  • "For the love of art and survival of artists." - Marina Louw

  • Oct 13, 2021 - USD $ 66.81
  • "The Cité was a life-changing experience for me. I wish I could afford a larger donation right now. " - Zelda Stroud

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Donations to date

R 35 039.26

Fundraising target

R 3 600 000.00

South African National Association for the Visual Arts

South African National Association for the Visual Arts Logo

The South African National Association for the Visual Arts (SANAVA) is a non-profit organization with multiple branches nationwide aiming to promote visual arts, develop visual artists, and further international cooperation in visual arts.