MARCH sees the opening of two new art galleries in Cape Town. US abstract expressionist Andrew Hart Adler’s new "art and culture venue", Atelier AHA opens in Woodstock on Saturday.

Adler, who is the son of the late composer and lyricist, Richard Adler — he won Tony Awards for Broadway musicals such as The Pajama Game and Damn Yankees — was the apprentice of celebrated Dutch-American abstract expressionist Willem de Kooning in the 1970s. The artist went on to achieve independent international acclaim, with his paintings included in museums and corporate collections across the world. He settled "semi-permanently" in Cape Town last year, having fallen in love with South Africa while here on holiday.

The aim of Atelier AHA is, he says, to "support the talent of South African artists in all disciplines, including theatre, dance, music and visual arts. It is a venue that will encourage a growing base of supporters who encourage local talent, both known and lesser known, to allow them to evolve in their own country."

The launch includes an exhibition of paintings by Adler; performances by actor and comedy magician Charles Tertiens, Ikapa Dance Theatre, musician and actor Roger Lucey, rock bands Juke Royal and Greengrassgrow and dancer Kash Athanatos; a dramatic reading directed by award-winning director Kim Kerfoot; and a performance of Nicol Ritchie’s play, Loving Liars.

"I also intend establishing an exchange programme that’ll allow South African artists to perform abroad," says Adler.

Also supporting emerging artists, Jennifer Reynolds established the curated online art gallery, StateoftheArt.co.za two years ago. Her objective was to provide a sales platform for "original and affordable artwork created by selected fine-arts students and graduates emerging from South Africa’s most prestigious art schools".

The idea to show artists’ work in an "earth-bound" exhibition — in collaboration with G2 Art at 61 Shortmarket Street on March 7 — came about when Reynolds and artist Di Smith saw the opportunity of collaborating.

"The space is big enough to allow Di to continue to exhibit her own work while I’m able to exhibit work by other StateoftheArt artists in an other area with a separate entrance on a permanent basis," says Reynolds. "We’ll rotate the work and will also set up a computer station, to enable visitors to see what other art is available online." The StateoftheArt.co.za exhibition gallery opens with new works by Floris van Zyl, Liffey Speller and Janet Botes.