In 2001, a group of local artists came together with the idea of creating a platform that would support cultural initiatives and artists.

We would first need to find a suitable location and we considered a wide variety of spaces, from empty school buildings to warehouses.

Following a rigorous search, in January of 2003 we found and secured a 6,500sq.ft.  plot in Nairobi’s Industrial Area. The property was initially owned by the auto company CMC Motors.

Candoco Samurai 008

The site consisted of numerous warehouses and depots used for the sale and repair of automobiles and tractors.

The organisation proceeded to renovate the space making it fit-for-purpose even while artistic events were already taking place.  

The GoDown Arts Centre officially opened its doors to the public in September 2003 after nine months of renovations. Its name pays homage to the original use of the property - ‘GoDown’ is another name for a warehouse.  

We have since purchased the property from CMC with the help of a grant from the Ford Foundation. 

GoDown Transforms

The re-development of The GoDown Arts Centre is underway in an initiative that will see our property in Nairobi’s Industrial Area scaled up to serve more artists, creatives, the community, and Kenyans better.

The new GoDown is set to be the first major public complex for performing and visual arts to be built in Kenya since independence. 

Planning for the new development began in 2011 and has been a consultative process involving the architects - Swedish firm White Arkitekter, and Kenyan firm Planning Systems Services Ltd – artists, city planners, area residents and the GoDown team of staff, consultants, and stakeholders.  

Read more on The GoDown Transformation here