After finishing a Master’s degree in Finance and a management traineeship at a multinational company, Cecile Wentges studied Spatial Design at the Gerrit Rietveld Academy. For her graduation project, she built a literal bridge that connected the art academy to the next door Loyens & Loeff law office. She then conducted tours for each side through the other’s world. This was the first of Cecile’s projects connecting the two microcosms she inhabits personally and professionally.
The following year, Cecile founded the GET LOST Foundation and initiated the GET LOST – art route through Amsterdam Zuidas. GET LOST develops art projects in public spaces connecting municipalities, companies and local stakeholders with young or established artists. After GET LOST, Cecile continued to create these connections in South Africa’s Cape Town, Amsterdam Zuidas, and Amsterdam Sloterdijk. These experiences led her to start a new endeavour in developing site-specific, social-cultural concepts connecting business to the cultural sector.
Commissioned by the municipality of Amsterdam, she then developed a placemaking strategy for the area Sloterdijk 2 Zuid. This led to connecting Toneelgroep Amsterdam to real estate developer Stadsbehoud, resulting in the experimental theatre breeding ground ‘De Sloot’. Following this, Cecile was commissioned by Stichting Stadvinderij (ROEF) and created ROEF Art Residency (RARe). RARe is a public space art project that showcases site-specific artworks on various rooftops throughout Amsterdam Zuidoost, connecting artists from this community to local organisations and institutions.
Currently, Cecile is commissioned by Zadelhoff to develop and implement a social and cultural concept for Slotervaart Centrum Voor Zorg. This led to the creation of Louwes Lab, a social-cultural program in a 4000 m2 wing of the former Slotervaart Hospital. This program focuses on the Nieuw-West neighbourhood and hosts a unique cross-pollination between care and well-being, education and innovation, art, culture and design.
Cecile Wentges’ mission to connect business with the cultural sector is born from the conviction that both worlds can reinforce each other while keeping their own integrity and authenticity. This belief is built upon her own experience in both environments and echoes through Cecile’s work.
For instance, in her assignment at Zadelhoff, which is actually about experimenting with art and culture in a temporary setting, and if that turns out to be a success, to jointly investigate how that can be grown into a permanent residence for art and culture within a new real estate development.
Cecile believes that in order to integrate art and culture into urban development in a qualitative manner, it requires a tailor-made approach. Locations differ, times differ, and each neighbourhood asks for a different setup. The preconditions are constantly changing, as are the people, their emotions and a wide range of cultural expressions.
A project starts with research and mapping out local cultural needs. Cecile always strives to connect with current initiatives in her projects while simultaneously searching for temporary or permanent possibilities. During this phase, she creates an overview of high-quality cultural initiatives in the neighbourhood and outside of it. During this phase, municipalities are often brought on board as a stakeholder.
The second phase of a project is the development of a cultural concept. This includes presentations and financial models, and feasibility studies. The concept always includes proposals for cooperation with various cultural initiatives which can range from temporary to permanent.
After the concept is accepted, the set-up and creation phase begins. This might include creating relevant cultural programming, events, communication, assembling and managing teams, grant applications and much, much more.
The final phase of a project focuses on the transfer of the project to the local cultural partner. In order successfully make this transition, it is important that all details are properly integrated and that all stakeholders remain aware of their roles and responsibility. A successful transfer requires trust, tenacity and attention to detail. It is in this finalisation of the project where Cecile’s strengths come into play for the last time.
Louwes Lab: Zadelhoff, Care Design Lab, Casa Sofia, ROC van Amsterdam, Buurtteam Amsterdam Nieuw West • RARe 2022: Stichting Stadvinderij (ROEF), Wonam, Zadelhoff, Rochdale, Municipality of Amsterdam, CBRE, Ymere, EDGE Technologies, ABN AMRO, Our Domain, HoBu • Sloterdijk 2: Municipality of Amsterdam, Stadsbehoud, Makerstoren, Uptown Sloterdijk • INNSiDE: Gerrit Rietveld Academie, INNSiDE hotel Zuidas • PLAY STATION SLOTERDIJK: Municipality of Amsterdam, NS, Prorail, Holland Casino, LaSalle Investment Management, EDGE Technologies, APG, ABP, Alliander • GET LOST – art route 2018: Stichting AkzoNobel Art Foundation, FLOW Real Estate, Egeria Real Estate Development, WTC Amsterdam, Zuidas - City of Amsterdam, Zuidasdok, Zuidplus, ABN AMRO Art Foundation, Maarsen Groep & Zadelhoff, BPD, Loyens & Loeff • Puncture Points: VTTI, Vitol, Gulfstream, Port of Cape Town, Dutch Consulate General • GET LOST – art route 2015: Gerrit Rietveld Academie, Provast, de rechtbank Amsterdam, Zuidas - City of Amsterdam, G&S Vastgoed, ICON, OVG real estate, Nationale Postcode Loterij