Creative ideas for vacant sites sought

Public art ideas for vacant commercial space in Wellington are being sought by this week by the agency Urban Dream Brokerage, established this year by public art programme Letting Space.

Funded by the Wellington City Council's Public Art Fund, the Urban Dream Brokerage assists in the revitalisation of the city through brokering the
use of vacant commercial space by artists and the creative industries.

While submissions are welcome at any time for projects needing space, the Brokerage is asking for a new round of initial ideas for public artwork to be submitted by 16 August. Details and an online application can be found at Enquiries can be made to manager Helen Kirlew Smith

Urban Dream Brokerage founders Mark Amery and Sophie Jerram emphasise they are working as brokers rather than curators of projects. While artists will be responsible for developing and managing their projects,  as an agency Urban Dream Brokerage locates potential spaces for the projects and handles negotiation, licensing and the provision of insurance.

"Where many artists come unstuck," they say, "is in the relationships with property owners and covering aspects like insurance when their use is short term use. It works for landlords, enlivening space and suggesting new uses to potential tenants, enables new business growth and the development business skills in the creative sector, and encourages a more lively, mixed used urban environment - something thats vital to a creative, future-looking city."

Since its establishment at the beginning of the year Urban Dream brokerage has brokered eight projects into vacant spaces The last was Gabby O’Connor’s giant iceberg work *Cleave *at the bottom of Wellington’s Victoria Street across from Civic Square, and two projects (*Occupation Artists* and *People’s Cinema*) are ongoing. Other projects have been by by Tessa Laird, James R Ford, Daniel Webby, theatre producers A Slightly Isolated Dog, and Barbarian Productions. To see more on these projects go to

Any individual or group developing their own original work or idea are eligible to apply to the brokerage as long as their work, product, services or process is distinctive and unique. While the Brokerage is being established to support all original work and creative businesses, until a further funding base is secured, priority is being given to public art projects (see below for the Wellington City Council's definition of Public Art).

Applicants must:

Bring life to Wellington. 

Projects should be fresh, dynamic and open to the public. 

Priority will be given to those with a ground floor presence and accessibility (i.e. not projects that are about storage, office space, or that are rarely open). This can be anywhere within Wellington City Council boundaries - not just the CBD. 

Provide the unique and innovative. We are not interested in turning the city into another copy of itself or one type of gallery or space. Part of the selection process is the encouragement of mixed use, diversity and variety. Artists and the creative industries actively contribute to the thinking, use and design of urban spaces. 

Projects will also be helping ensure more diverse communities are represented publicly.

Demonstrate professionalism and a very clear idea. Projects should have future potential for growth, and individuals/organisations should demonstrate that they are ready to look after a space professionally and responsibly.

Pay attention to their project’s context. Projects should demonstrate an awareness of Wellington city’s current usages, issues and history. This includes, where applicable, recognition of mana whenua and the city's Maori whakapapa.

For a project to happen it also needs someone with a suitable property to get behind it. The Brokerage may not always be able to find such a space.

Public art is defined in the Wellington City Council Public Art Policy as:

- artists contributing to the thinking and design of public places and spaces,
- art concepts and/or artworks and/or design features integrated into urban design developments (including buildings, streets and parks),
- artists working in and with communities in public spaces,
- art processes and artworks in the public sphere that may be variously described as sculpture, murals, street-art, performance, new-genre public art, relational aesthetics, and/or installations.

Current Urban Dream Projects:

People’s Cinema: 57 Manners St 

Property Partner - The Wellington Company
Runs - throughout 2013
Opening hours - (varies) see

Occupation Artists: Level One, The Grand Arcade, Willis Street

Property Partner - Grand Complex Properties Ltd /Jones Lang LeSalle

Runs - throughout 2013
Opening hours - (varies) Monday-Saturday