Introducing Wellington Broker - Robbie Whyte

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I am almost as proud as my Dad to introduce myself as Urban Dream Brokerage Wellington’s new Broker, Robbie Whyte. 

As many of you will know, I am stepping into some rather large and particularly competent shoes. I would firstly like to make it known how appreciative I am of the opportunity, but more than that, what an incredible job Helen Kirlew Smith has done and continues to do as Manager of the Urban Dream Brokerage over the last two and a half years. 

I have arrived as a bright eyed Bachelor of Fine Arts graduate, passionate about social and public art. As I was described just the other night, I am a bit of a dreamer, the kid who wants to change the world, today! I imagine this is one of the reasons I am perfect for this job. My enthusiasm is going to be integral to my journey with UDB if I have any chance at keeping up with Helen, Mark and Sophie. These three passionate and tenacious individuals have made an influence on Wellington’s Art and Community landscape that is hard to ignore. The work that has been done thus far between Letting Space and UDB is exactly as both projects describe in their mission statement - significant and innovative - I believe they are part of a radical change within our culture. One that is centred around social consciousness, sustainability and hopefully; a public that is actively engaged in the arts and the betterment of our society. These are the things that I am passionate about as an artist and agent for social change. 

As an artist I am interested in the intersection between art and social practice. What does it mean to take a conceptual artwork, an idea, and engage a community or public? I can tell you right now, I don’t have the answer, but I am on a mission to find out.  

 Puke Ahu / Cooks Mount - Robbie Whyte, 2014.

Puke Ahu / Cooks Mount - Robbie Whyte, 2014.

I want to make significant work that activates space, people and public beyond the white walls of the gallery. Work that actively makes a difference to the world. You can only imagine what it means to be working with this inspiring bunch then. My hope is that the Brokerage continues to see projects and people proposing that have a similar mission, to make the world a better place. The interesting thing about social practice, is, that it never looks like anything. It doesn't have a shape, or form, or an aesthetic. It is genuine. It is accessible. It is real. This is why I love what UDB do, and why I would like more people to get involved, make projects and proposal, to contribute to our social space. Because community engaged art isn't exclusive to any type of art or artist. It is for any art, any artist that wants to actively engage people and communities with their work. 

 The Colourist’s - Sophia McKinnon, 2014.

The Colourist’s - Sophia McKinnon, 2014.

For their work, Urban Dream Brokerage has just received revised funding from Wellington City Council. This revised funding has put a focus on art and culture. The terms art and culture, are pretty expansive, how I read that is, basically anything that is relative to engaging people through ideas! I would encourage anyone thinking about proposing to consider how they can engage their community, to expand their idea, its reach and effect. We are lucky to have an abundance of creatives actives in the CBD, now lets come together and see how we can engage the rest of our city. Helen said something today that eloquently described what I feel when she said, “art changed my life and as a result of this, the majority of my work has been about breaking down barriers for others to engage in or participate in it too”.

For me, that quote speaks to amazing projects that the Urban Dream Brokerage has facilitated, like the Mood Bank, and Letting Space’s Projected Fields by Siv Fjaerestad. 

 Mood Bank - Dr. Sarah Elsie Baker and Vanessa Crowe, 2014.

Mood Bank - Dr. Sarah Elsie Baker and Vanessa Crowe, 2014.

 Projected Fields - Siv Fjaerestad, 2014 (Letting Space).

Projected Fields - Siv Fjaerestad, 2014 (Letting Space).

We are calling for proposals now, and I know there are plenty of Artists and ambitious members of our community with projects developing as we speak! So if you do have an idea, get a proposal in here: http://urbandreambrokerage.org.nz/for-applicants/