By Melissa Cohen
The lower end of Woodstock may not be to everyone’s liking, but while exploring the Woodstock Exchange, my senses were awoken to a unique atmosphere different to a generic art gallery. This building is not an art gallery, but can rather be described as a place of manufacturing innovative and creative concepts and producing proudly Capetonian art works.
As I walked through what I would call ‘hipster central’, the smell of freshly brewed coffee shifted my focus to the quaint cafes located around this amphitheatre-like realm filled with creativity. Although the building is small, it hosts some interesting works of art as well as a variety of vintage stores, which will tantalize anyone who’s got a love and respect for classic fashion and design.
The more I explored the building and its “inhabitants”, I started feeling as though I was being transported to some sort of “creative realm” where everything and everyone was incredibly creative and arty, be it the artists with their “Hitler Youth” haircuts, to the random sculptures and artworks scattered around the building. There is no question that this place is definitely unique.
The Woodstock Exchange, with its unique rustic outdoor elements contrasted with modern architectural finishes, gives Capetonians as well as tourists the chance to experience and explore the creative experience first-hand. It is like being granted a password into the world of local creative minds and be able to uncover the unique artistic pieces and ideas that come from these artists. The Exchange is there to ultimately encourage an exchange of creative ideas and gives these creative geniuses the opportunity to showcase their work, as well as encourage others to partake in this creative experience.
During my adventure, I spoke to some of the artists and sales assistants who were very enthusiastic about the Exchange. “I really enjoy working at the Woodstock Exchange. There is a great vibe and everyone is friendly”, says Sam & Seb sales assistant Olwetu. Another very enthusiastic sales assistant, Robbi, mentions that she feels like she is part of a community when she is at the Woodstock Exchange.
My experience was not only interesting, but also really inspiring. The people who occupy the space are friendly and willing to chat; the stores are unique with “one of a kind” items; and lastly, the artworks are truly incredible.
The huge dog sculpture in the middle of the building will immediately capture your attention, as well as the various other pieces hanging from the ceiling. So give this cultural Mecca a try. Go have a cup of coffee and indulge your senses in something truly innovative.
* The Woodstock Exchange is situated on 66 Albert Road, Woodstock. For more information, call 021 486 5999, or visit woodstockexchange.co.za.