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the team


david wright


David Wright is Co-Director of Commission Projects.

David Wright has been responsible for leading the development of numerous public art policies, strategies and projects many of which have established national precedents. He remains committed to the development of new approaches in response to changing circumstances.

This 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.

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.

He has produced over 30 public art strategies and policies for a diverse range of organisations that include local authorities, universities, schools and property developers. He continues to be an advisor to, and a member of a number of local government public art advisory panels.

These have resulted in over 300 public art projects between 1992 and 2019 both regionally and nationally. Notable projects include the ten-year public 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 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 Southern Arts 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). He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of the Arts and is a Member of the Cambridge City Council Public Arts Panel.



grace thorne

Grace Thorne is Co-Director of Commission Projects.

With over 25 years of working in visual arts, the last 18 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.

Grace has extensive of experience 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 experience of securing and managing external funding. This includes funding from Arts Council England, European Regional Development Funding through Interreg IV,  European Social Funding in partnership with Business Link and Investing in Communities (IiC).

Grace Thorne is responsible for the development of the public engagement aspect of projects, working closely with specialists to manage and deliver this important area of activity.

Grace Thorne has been involved in the development of numerous public art strategies, plans and feasibility studies, as well as undertaking public art audits, consultations and evaluations. Notable amongst these are the evaluation of the Art Plus award scheme set up jointly by the South East England Development Agency (SEEDA) and Arts Council England, South East; and 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 is a practicing artist and was a Council Member of the Society of Designer Craftsmen, 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.

© Commission Projects 2019