The Javett family collected works by key 20th-century South African artists, a tradition continued by Michael Javett. By 2012, the collection had become large enough for Michael to explore how it might be put to optimal use. He decided if these important artworks were housed in an art centre attached to an academic institution, the collection could significantly enhance education in the arts. Most importantly, he wanted to ensure that these seminal pieces would be available to the wider public.

The Javett Art Centre at the University of Pretoria (Javett-UP) is the result of collaboration between the University of Pretoria and the Javett Foundation. It is founded in the shared belief in the value of the arts for the public in general, and for education in particular. This iconic building, spanning Lynnwood Road in South Africa’s capital city, gives the art centre a footprint on both the campus of the University of Pretoria and in the city, with easy access for the public.. It comprises nine galleries, with spaces for exhibitions, multidisciplinary events and performances.

In addition to showcasing the Javett Foundation’s extensive collection of 20th-century South African art, the centre houses the gold treasures of Mapungubwe, and works from the university's collections. The Javett-UP is be a vital resource for the university, helping to strengthen teaching, learning, research and community engagement and outreach.