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 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 – art route on the Zuidas, 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 endeavor in developing various site-specific, social-cultural projects 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 the theater companies De Warme Winkel and BOG to real estate developer Stadsbehoud, resulting in the experimental theater incubator ‘De Sloot’. Following this, Cecile was commissioned by Stichting Stadvinderij (ROEF), that was funded by the European Creative Rooftop Network, to develop a qualitative art project in Amsterdam Zuidoost. Together with Stichting Stadvinderij she 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 organizations and institutions.
From 2021–2023 Cecile was commissioned by Zadelhoff to develop and implement a social and cultural project for Slotervaart Centrum Voor Zorg in Amsterdam Nieuw-West. This commission led to the creation of Louwes Lab, a social-cultural program in a 4.000 m2 wing of the former Slotervaart Hospital. This program focused on the Nieuw-West neighborhood and hosted a unique cross-pollination between care and well-being, education, innovation, art, culture and design. Within Amsterdam Nieuw-West Cecile was also commissioned by the municipality of Amsterdam to research temporary and permanent housing for cultural institutions in the World Fashion Centre in Amsterdam.
Currently, Cecile is working on the transformation of the temporary Louwes Lab to a permanent cultural care hub within a new real estate development in the Slotervaart area, assigned by Zadelhoff and the municipality of Amsterdam together.
VISION & MISSION
Cecile Wentges firmly believes that cities can only thrive with a strong cultural presence. Therefore, her mission is to create physical space and new opportunities for the cultural sector within the urban landscape. To achieve this she connects businesses and municipalities to people and organizations within the cultural field. This is with the conviction that each can reinforce the other whilst keeping their own integrity and authenticity. This belief is built upon Cecile’s experiences in these environments and echoes through her work.
Cecile believes that integrating art and culture into urban development in a qualitative manner requires an in-depth approach. The preconditions of a location and its people, including emotional attachment, a wide range of cultural expressions, and time are factors that are constantly changing. Therefore, each location, neighborhood and/or assignment asks for different strategies and actions.
A project starts with research and mapping out local social and cultural needs. Cecile always strives to connect with current initiatives in her projects while simultaneously searching for temporary or permanent possibilities. During this phase, municipalities are often brought on board as a stakeholder.
The second phase of a project is the development of a social-cultural concept. This includes presentations and financial models, and feasibility studies. The concept always includes proposals for cooperation with various cultural initiatives ranging 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 focuses on transferring the project to the local cultural partner. In order to successfully make this transition, it is essential that all details are appropriately integrated and that all stakeholders remain aware of their roles and responsibilities. A successful transfer requires trust, tenacity and attention to detail. It is in this finalization of the project that Cecile’s strengths come into play for the last time.
World Fashion Centre: Municipality of Amsterdam, MRP Development
Louwes Lab: Zadelhoff, Care Design Lab, Casa Sofia, ROC van Amsterdam, Buurtteam Amsterdam Nieuw-West, Sanquin, Antoni van Leeuwenhoek Ziekenhuis, Cordaan, Prothya, Municipality of Amsterdam, Stichting Sipi
Garage Haardstee: EDGE Technologies, ABN AMRO, Municipality of Amsterdam, CBK Zuidoost
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, De Warme Winkel, BOG
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