Art centres play an important role in the creation and promotion of visual arts in Zimbabwe. The growth and development of the Shona Sculpture movement was greatly influenced by the establishment of formal and informal art centres.
The first known art centre in Zimbabwe is Tengenenge Sculpture Village established by Tom Blomefield at his farm in Guruve in 1966. Tengenenge is a typical African village made up of stone sculptors who work in a commune. Many first generation stone sculptors like Fanizani Akuda and Sylvester Mubayi started their careers at Tengenenge.
Artists developed their skills through group work, they shared ideas and materials and supported each other in reinventing Shona Sculpture, a form of art that had previously not been taken seriously.
Another art centre which contributed in promoting the growth of Shona Sculpture was Chapungu Sculpture Park established by Roy Guhrie. Through its Resident Artist Program, artists worked in groups and learnt from each other.
Some artists like Colleen Madamombe started off as assistants and later became world renowned sculptors. World acclaimed sculptors like Dominic Benhura and Rachel Ndandarika passed through Chapungu Sculpture Park.
Dominic Benhura later on established The Dominic Studios in Greendale Harare. The studio enrolled many younger artists like Alfred Gutsa and is still very active in creating the platform for stone sculptors to develop their talents and skills.
Chitungwiza Arts Centre established in 1997 is a community art project based in Chitungwiza. The art centre is one of Zimbabwe’s biggest art commune in terms of the number of resident artists. Chitungwiza Arts Centre produced world renowned artists like Tago Tazvitya and Elvis Mamvura.
Other Art Centres that are contributing to the development of visual arts in Zimbabwe are Mzilikazi Art & Crafts Centre, Ruwa Sculpture Park, Mabvuku Art Centre, Warren Park Art Centre, Tsindi Art Centre among others. With additional support these art centres can become developmental hubs that can sustain livelihoods in Zimbabwe.