David Wright, Director
David Wright is Co-Director of Commission Projects.
Over a twenty five year period he has been responsible for leading the development of numerous public art policies and projects many of which established precedents in the field of art in the public realm.
Between 1984 and 1992, as Director of City Gallery Arts Trust (Milton Keynes) he developed public art policies for the Milton Keynes Development Corporation and Milton Keynes Borough Council, and commissioned many of the public art projects for the new City of Milton Keynes. In addition to this, he established a programme of high profile temporary projects for the city’s new public spaces.
David Wright founded Commissions East in 1992 and during its twenty year existence this non- profit organisation produced over 30 public art policies for a diverse range of organisations that included Louth Town Council, Cambridge City Council and Essex County Council. He continues to be an advisor to and a member of a number of local government public art advisory panels.
Commissions East commissioned over 250 public art projects between 1992 and 2012 both regionally and nationally. Notable projects include the ten yearpublic art programme for CB1 (Cambridge), Orchard Park(Cambridge), Fakenham Town Centre regeneration, Cromer Seafront regeneration, and projects by Paul De Monchaux and Anne and Patrick Poirier for Norwich Town Centre, by Edmund De Waal for Cambridge University and Langlands and Bell for University College Suffolk.
David Wright has an ongoing commitment to extending the potential for art in the public realm and has led a number of research projects that have influenced public art activity. These included Quadratura (with Beevor Mull Architects and Edward Allington) which was an early artist/architect collaboration, Art U Need (with Bob and Roberta Smith) which investigated new ways of involving the public, Fleet (with Gavin Turk) which developed a cultural tourism programme linking the UK with Europe, and Untrue Island (with Jane and Louise Wilson, Robert Macfarlane and Arnie Somogyi) which examined the potential for cross art form collaboration.
David Wright was a founder member of Public Art Forum (the National Association for Public Art and a member of the Executive between 1983 and 1991. He was a member of the Arts Council South’s Visual Arts Panel (1990-02), an advisor to the Milton Keynes Foundation, Milton Keynes Arts Association and Buckinghamshire Arts Association, and a Trustee of the Chiltern Sculpture Park (1989-91), Milton Keynes Community Worksop Trust (1983-89), Shape East (2003-06) and the Hosking Trust (1995-2010).
Grace Thorne, Director
Grace Thorne is Co-Director of Commission Projects.
With over 17 years of working in visual arts, the last 12 of which have been in public art development, Grace Thorne has a strong commitment to promoting the significant benefits that inclusion of artists can bring to the public realm.
She is an advocate of partnership working and between 2001 and 2012, was involved in all of Commissions East’s research and development projects which included ‘Bata-ville’ by Nina Pope and Karen Guthrie, ‘Coast’, a major programme of public art celebrating the Essex coastline managed in partnership with Essex County Council, Firstsite and Shinkansen/future physical, ’Fleet’ a programme of arts activity and cultural exchange between the UK, and the Nord Pas de Calais region of France, and ‘Untrue Island’ delivered in partnership with the National Trust.
As Company Manager at Commissions East, Grace was responsible for fundraising and financial management at both a strategic and project level ranging from small-scale grant funded projects to large scale long-term projects with multiple funders and partners. In addition to her knowledge of UK arts funding, she has extensive experience of managing European funding. Projects have included ‘Fleet’ which in addition to funding from Arts Council England and Essex County Council received European Regional Development Funding through Interreg IV, the financial management a Professional Development programme for artists, with European Social Funding in partnership with Business Link and ‘Art U Need‘ which received funding from the Investing in Communities (IiC).
Grace Thorne was involved in the marketing and promotion of Commissions East and its activities through the development of the company website as well as a number individual project websites, creating accessible content and information for commissioners, artists, participants and audiences.
Grace Thorne has been involved in the development of numerous public art strategies, plans and feasibility studies, as well as undertaking as public art audits, consultations and evaluations. Notable amongst these are the evaluation of the £875k Art Plus award scheme set up jointly by the South East England Development Agency (SEEDA) and Arts Council England, South East, a Public Art Impact Study for Essex County Council, in partnership with ABL Cultural Consulting, which looked at the impact of existing public art projects and recommended a model for assessing the likely impact of future activity.
Grace Thorne was a Council Member of the Society of Designer Craftsmen between 1996 and 2001, during which time her interest was in how the Society could benefit its artist members through networking information, training and new developments in Information Technology that could aid them in their work.
Project Delivery and Partnership
Commission Projects is a small, flexible organisation with an extensive network of partners and associates who have specialist skills which include arts and project management, education and public engagement, planning, architecture and landscape architecture, and fundraising.
With major projects, Commission Projects recruits and leads specialist teams that can respond to and deliver ambitious and wide-ranging projects. This ensures that an appropriate and cost effective approach is delivered.
Bridget has over 18 years of experience working for cultural organisations and is committed to the presentation of contemporary and modern art and engaging audiences through a range of events and activities. For 12 years she was the Curator of the Millais Gallery and Associate Lecturer at Southampton Solent University, curating exhibitions, developing and delivering new ways to engage communities in Southampton with contemporary art and supporting the development of artists’ practice. She specialises in commissioning and producing projects that promote a deeper understanding and enjoyment of art.
Since moving to Cambridgeshire in 2011, Bridget has worked with a number of museums in a variety of positions including project management, marketing and development and to re-display collections, as well as curating exhibitions including House Guests, a University of Cambridge Museums project, with Jeremy Millar at Kettle’s Yard. At The Polar Museum, she ran a public appeal and raised funds to purchase Scott’s Negatives and curated exhibitions, commissioning new work from artists, writers film makers and poets and produced publications, writing and editing interpretive information.
In 2015 Bridget joined Rowan, a charity and arts centre for learning-disabled people in Cambridge, as their Marketing and Development Manager. In this position she is responsible for exhibitions and events, fundraising and marketing, developing new projects, and in particular increasing the level of community participation activities for Rowan’s learning-disabled students.
Bridget Cusack is a trustee of Cambridge Curiosity and Imagination and continues to work as a freelance project manager in the arts and heritage sector.
Lyndall Phelps, Associate
Lyndall has worked in the visual arts in England and Australia for over thirty years, as educator, curator, project manager and artist. Her experience as a secondary visual arts teacher and university lecturer saw her appointed as Curator of Youth and Community Programmes at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney (1992 – 1999). During that time Lyndall developed a unique and highly regarded education programme for young people of all ages and abilities including those with special needs and at risk of social exclusion.
Lyndall moved to England in 1999 to further her career in the visual arts. She was appointed Curator of Display and Interpretation at Compton Verney, Warwickshire (1999 – 2002) where she worked closely with Stanton Williams Architects and Redman Design on the re-development of a Grade 1 listed stately home into a major new arts venue. Lyndall also delivered a series of contemporary art commissions in Compton Verney’s park with artists John Frankland, Anya Gallaccio and Simon Patterson.
From 2002 to 2005 Lyndall became Commissions East’s Project Manager, working on a number of high profile projects including ‘Coast’ (with Neville Gabie, John Kippin, Zoe Walker and Neil Bromwich, and Elizabeth Wright) and ‘Contemporary Art in Historic Places’ (with Imogen Stidworthy, Richard Wentworth and Louise K Wilson).
In 2005 Lyndall became a full-time artist, but still continues working as a freelance project manager and educator. Her art practice is often site and/or context specific and strongly process based, relying on research and collaboration with a range of individuals and organisations. Solo exhibitions include ‘Softkill’, University of Hertfordshire Galleries; ‘Touch’, Leamington Spa Art Gallery and Museum; ‘The Pigeon Archive’, Milton Keynes Gallery and ‘knit one purl one’, One Canada Square, Canary Wharf, London.
Lyndall has created public art commissions for a range of organisations including the Great Eastern Hotel, London; the Institute of Physics, London; the National Trust; the NHS, Hull and the Museum of St Albans. She has undertaken residences at The Higgins, Bedford; the Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin; and the Natural History Museum, London and Tring. Her work is represented in Arts Council England, East’s Art Collection, Leamington Spa Art Gallery and Museum’s Medicate Collection and the University of Hertfordshire Art Collection.