Keys to the City – Brisbane version

I need creative projects to distract me, drive me, push me forward and have dreams to chase.

Declaring a new public project, I’m working on.   Keys to the City: Brisbane

A project I volunteered for in New York and looking to adapt locally.  I had a great phone chat with Creative Time in New York about the behind the scenes, and beginning to float it out there to see what conversations or traction can be gained.  It is something fun for the community to participate in and I had enjoyed it especially as it merges my favourite topics –  art, design, community collaborations and urban exploration.

Adapting the public art project Key to the City from New York to Brisbane

For complete information see –
(Creative Time with City of New York, and artist Paul Ramirez Jonas)

Keys to cities are traditionally given by a mayor to a hero or dignitary, symbolizing that they can have free entrance to the city. This new Key to the City belongs to us, and is awarded among ourselves. We will give each other the key to our city for private reasons that exist outside of history. Instead of being acknowledged for landing a plane in a river, we are awarded the key for perfect attendance in school. Instead of receiving an honor for winning the World Series, we receive the key because of the kindness we showed at the hospital. And with this new key, we gain an opportunity to step back and reflect on common space in the city. For not only does the key open up specific sites, but it can also make us aware that the city is a series of spaces that are locked or unlocked.

Project Components

10, 000 keys to give to public
Locks to 20 sites across Brisbane (open during, and/or after Brisbane Festival
“Passport/Map” of 20 sites
Key ceremony site (eg King George Square/ State Library)

People get a key and explore the city.

20 sites TBA including CBD and suburbs
Sites all celebrate Brisbane, urban design and community life – may include such spaces as heritage buildings, libraries, stores, community gardens, post box, art spaces, cultural spaces. Activities and things at sites widely vary and in partnership with owners.

In New York included special access to space, demonstrations, special artifacts.
Unique public and private spaces
Creative Time(NY) formed partnerships with owners, and reported visitation in some sites were beyond exceptions

Project Development/ Current Status
This idea is in concept stage (it has been mentioned to State Library QLD, BCC Creative Communities, Brisbane Festival, Brisbane Development Association (to link to Open House Brisbane – which aimed to enrich the understanding that Brisbane residents and visitors have of their city, through encouraging them to explore, re-examine and engage with Brisbane’s built environment (15 buildings)

Brisbane Festival Request:

Seeking inclusion into Brisbane Festival to begin to seriously seek sponsors, partners Employment/ contract to produce and coordinate this idea
Funding of Project – TBA (in discussion with Creative Time – their project for 30,000 keys = $20K Key Sponsorship (corporate), $10K for project expense such as printing and Times Square booth. Costs without labour/time)


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