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Urban Dream Brokerage


Public art ideas for vacant commercial space in Wellington in 2013 are being sought by an agency being established by the curators of public art programme Letting Space by the 17th of December.

Called Urban Dream Brokerage, the agency is a six month pilot funded by the Wellington City Council. It opens in December to assist 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 initial submissions for public artwork to be submitted to Urban Dream Brokerage by 17 December to

Urban Dream Brokerage founders Sophie Jerram and Mark Amery 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. Amery and Jerram bring to the Brokerage three years of experience working with property owners to realise a series of ambitious and innovative public art projects nationally.

"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."

Jerram and Amery note their are many similar brokerage initiatives occurring around the world due to their effectiveness, including over a dozen in Australia.

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 April 2013 or 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.

The Brokerage is also currently advertising a job position as Brokerage Coordinator. More details are available at their blog.

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