Art Museum: Home

Who we are

The Nelson Mandela Metropolitan Art Museum is located at St George’s Park, on the corner of Rink Street and Park Drive.   It is home to a comprehensive collection of South African art and craft and specializes in the art of the Eastern Cape Province.    There are three exhibition halls that are re-hung throughout the year to accommodate our collections as well as our programme of special exhibitions.

Originally named the King George VI Art Gallery, the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan Art Museum was founded by the Port Elizabeth Municipality on the 22 June 1956 and, from 1960 to 2007, operated under the control of an independent Board of Trustees.    The Board was established by a resolution of the PE City Council on 28 July 1960 and was formally constituted with effect from 1 January 1961.    The Board was "entrusted with the entire management and financial control of the affairs of the Art Gallery" and comprised nine statutory members and nine additional co-opted members.    The statutory members were appointed by their respective authorities.   The co-opted Trustees were elected by the Board of Trustees.   The statutory members represented the City Council, the PE Technikon, the University of Port Elizabeth, the Cape Provincial Administration, the Eastern Province Society of Arts and Crafts, the Director of the Port Elizabeth Museum (subsequently re-named Bayworld), and the King George VI Art Gallery Association (subsequently re-named the Friends of the Art Museum).

With the proposed re-naming of the Art Museum (which was approved by Council in December 2002) the Board entered into protracted negotiations with the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality Council regarding the Art Museum’s function within the metropole.  

The Nelson Mandela Metropolitan Art Museum is now part of the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality.


The vision of the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan Art Museum is for the Art Museum to be a place that the citizens of Nelson Mandela Bay value and take pride in and that will promote our city nationally and internationally. We want our collections to be universally accessible and to provide a source of inspiration that will make a positive difference to peoples' lives.


The mission of the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan Art Museum is to collect, preserve, exhibit, and foster the understanding and enjoyment of works of art at the highest possible museum and scholarly standards.

Core Values
  • PEOPLE come first, are treated with dignity and respect, and are encouraged to achieve their full potential.
  • RELATIONSHIPS are built on honesty, integrity and trust.
  • DIVERSITY of people and thought is respected.
  • EXCELLENCE is achieved through teamwork, leadership, creativity and a strong work ethic.
  • EFFICIENCY is achieved through wise use of human and financial resources.
  • COMMITMENT to intellectual achievement is embraced.

Long Term Goals
  • Building up a definitive collection of the art of the Eastern Cape, supported by a representative collection of African and South African art.
  • Promoting the appreciation of visual art in Nelson Mandela Bay and the Eastern Cape Province.
  • Encouraging the production of visual art in the Eastern Cape and the promotion of this art nationally and internationally.
  • Breaking down perceived barriers between visual art, craft and design.
  • Broadening public appreciation for visual arts from diverse cultural origins.
  • Promoting the formal study of South African art in general and Eastern Cape art in particular at schools and tertiary institutions.
  • Providing sources of inspiration for practicing artists.
  • Making the Museum’s permanent art collection accessible to the widest possible audience, nationally and internationally.
  • Promoting the economic value of the visual arts to the Metro. This will be achieved through recreational activities, tourism, community upliftment, education and services to artists, designers and craftspeople (e.g. publications, exhibitions and training).

Contact Details

The Nelson Mandela Metropolitan Art Museum

Address: 1 Park Drive, Central,  Port Elizabeth, 6001, South Africa

Telephone: +27 (0)41 506 2000 

Cell: 079 490 0690 

E-mail: or

Please note that our fax line is not working.

Please address all correspondence to the Director.

The Art Museum is open from 9:00 – 16:00 weekdays to the public.

The Art Museum is closed weekends and public holidays. We are open on certain Saturdays, please contact us to check which Saturday we will be open.

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