Print this page

The GoDown Arts Centre

Volume 12, Issue 2  | 
Published 03/10/2015

The GoDown Arts Centre is home to Kenyan creativity in arts and media. Established in 2003, in a space that was formerly a car repair warehouse, the centre has contributed significantly to the growth, recognition and visibility of local artist by fostering and facilitating collaborations and encounters between artists from different disciplines and different parts of the world.


Over 10,000square meters of performance, rehearsal, studios and office space comprise The Godown Art Centre. The Centre provides the first Kenyan multi-disciplinary space for arts and host organizations representing a variety of art-form and also residence programs. The Godown Art Centre brings artists and audiences together in ways that refresh, challenge and inspire. It is fast becoming a focal point in East Africa for innovation, creativity and performance. Since the Go Down's inception, it has initiated and hosted many exciting art residencies, workshops, performances, exhibitions and discussion forums.

The Performing & Visual Arts Centre is a registered Kenyan non-profit company, limited by shares, non-distributing. It trades under the name 'The GoDown Arts Centre' and also goes by the acronym 'PVACL'. It was officially registered in April 2001 and became fully operational from January 2003.

Dedan Kimathi left by BankSlave,Swift and Smokillah. Right is by Point Blank
Martin Luther King 1 by Jesse
Miriam Makeba  by BankSlave
Obama by BankSlave
Swift, Erase and Bankslave Signatures
matatu panels by SANANOMA and graffiti by Erase


The GoDown grew out of a need articulated by a wide range of artists in the late 1990's for provide a space holding the vested interests of Kenyan and East African artists in a cross section of disciplines. Notwithstanding the energy behind this exciting new initiative, the search for space lasted nearly three years as potential spaces were identified, reviewed and pursued without closure.

However, determination culminated in the identification and later development of the current physical site, which combines inexpensive, wide-open spaces, in an accessible and appropriate location with basic facilities for performances, studios, rehearsals and exhibitions. The GoDown Arts Centre, the first of its kind in East Africa, is a not-for-profit entity that now has a number of residential visual and performing artists groups, all occupying a common space.

It serves as a place where creative ideas can be generated, mingled and cross-referenced. The GoDown Arts Centre promotes professional development through training workshops that are held throughout the year, while creating an environment for innovation and collaboration between artists. The present space occupied by the GoDown is a renovated 10,000 sq meters warehouse with studios, rehearsal and performance spaces. The GoDown also has an exhibition gallery where exhibitions can be shown, and meetings or performances held.