Adam Auditorium, City Gallery Wellington, 6-8pm
The brokerage played to a full house of approximately 150 people with a number turned away.
After words of welcome from WCC Councillor Ray Ahipene Mercer (property and cultural portfolio), the MC for the evening, Dr David Cross, (Associate Professor of Fine Arts from Massey University) set the parameters and started the kete going around the audience to collect a koha to go to the audience's favourite pitch.
Firstly our property panel were introduced:
1. Co-director of the Wellington Company Ian Cassels began developing property in Wellington in the early 1990s. The company was an initiator of residential redevelopment in inner city Wellington and has taken a major role in Wellington's Cuba quarter.
2. Richard Burrell of Building Solutions has owned or restored some 20 heritage buildings. Highlights include the movement of the Museum hotel, and pulling up the Otago Railway line to create the Rail trail.
3. Rosemary Bradford is an Executive Director of Colliers International (commercial realty). She was elected to the Wellington City Council when she was 24, and served as a Councillor for 12 years. She oversaw the birth of the City Art Gallery and later the International Festival of the Arts.
Then our four artists pitching spoke for a maximum of five minutes before one by one taking questions and comments from the property panel:
1. Bronwyn Holloway-Smith pitched the idea of a showroom for an apartment complex on Mars, given that scientific reports confirm such residence might be possible. She referred to developers' marketing of apartments yet to be built and the New Zealand Company's sale of land in Wellington to the original pioneers in England. Bronwyn is an artist based in Wellington who has exhibited throughout galleries in New Zealand and Australia. She was recently named one of The 25 Most Powerful People in Tech by the National Business Review.
2. Theatre group The PlayGround Collective proposed a work for a partially rented office building where a small audience travel by elevator moving from scene floor to floor, portraying the drudgery of the office environment. The scenes becomes increasingly surreal and debauched, with inspiration from Dante's Inferno. Playground Collective was set up in 2007 by director Robin Kerr, writer Eli Kent and Producer Eleanor Bishop.
3. Kim Paton argued for a new approach to rental rates for inner city real estate, arguing that vibrant CBD's rely on the mixed use that grows organically over time (Cuba Street as an example) and the small business and that needs to provide for different rental rates depending on the tenant. Kim has an Honours degree in Fine Arts from Massey and is currently Completing a Masters in Business at Waikato University.
4. Erica Van Zon proposed a building or series of sites which would see the provision of alternative therapies - from reiki and aromatherapy through to tarot and colour therapy - and might see the audience travel from those more physically based up the building to those which are more spiritual. Erica Van Zon is an AUT and ELAM graduate who has recently shifted to Wellington. Recently her work appeared in City Gallery's video vitrines.
It was then time for our property panel to pitch to an artists' panel:
1. Jeremy Diggle is Head of School of Fine Arts at Massey University and an artist with a practice that extends back to the 1970s with a deep interest in technology, storytelling, text, painting and performance.
2. Cathryn Munro’s Per capita can be found on the corner of Cable and Tory Streets outside the Museum Hotel. She will shortly exhibit in the Courtenay Place Lightboxes. She is represented by Mark Hutchins Gallery.
3. Rob Cherry is currently showing at City Gallery and is represented by Suite Gallery. He is also well known as a leading contemporary art installer.
1. Ian Cassels brought to the table three thoughts. Firstly he felt it important to assert that the best thing that could happen in the city would be for the current inequitable rating system be overhauled. Secondly, he proposed that artists come to him with ideas for the use of the Left bank off Cuba Street to make this thoroughfare more attractive and vibrant. Thirdly he introduced his dream of a lightshow that would move across the city and out to landmarks like the wind turbine and Somes Island.
2. Rosemary Bradford commented on the sad state of some CBD gardens, noting as example those of Chaffers Park New World. Inspired by a trip to Beijing, she encouraged better planting. She also encouraged the institution of more pop-up shops and pop-up galleries, where such short term tenants use the space for lower rents. Thirdly she spoke to the importance of markets in a CBD for small business growth for things other than food and noted their disappearance during the property boom.
3. Richard Burrell presented his challenge to the Wellington City Council for more vibrant use of the attractive historic boatsheds down by the Port Nicholson Yacht Club as the council look to boardwalk along the area to continue public access to the CBD water edge. In particular he suggested the use of the sheds for artist residencies, band rehearsal space and other art usages.
After much valuable discussion between panels and with the audience, voting forms were collected and votes counted. After comment from the counters that there was a healthy spread of votes across all pitches The Playground Collective's pitch Freefall Inc. was announced as winner.