In 1906, the working class houses in the Zebrastraat, built around a central oval square, were a wonderful example of innovative architecture. Unfortunately, due to a lack of investment, the site was gradually neglected and in complete decay by the 1990s. However, the tide would soon turn : in 2003, the Liedts-Meesen Foundation purchased the buildings and began the rehabilitation of the ‘Cirk’. From the very start of the renovation, the option was taken to bring together under one roof three main social activities, also called the three “pillars”, on which the project Zebrastraat would grow.
At first instance, the original residential function was maintained: the pillar LIVING today still includes 72 apartments in the buildings surrounding the centre square. These are homes families can rent for short periods, starting from three months on. This creates a special mix of tenants. In addition, some furnished apartments are for rent to visitors who stay as a guest for only a few days or weeks.
Secondly, a major economic activity was developed: the pillar SEMINAR ROOMS & EVENTS of Zebrastraat leases five fully equipped seminar rooms for academic conferences, seminars and board meetings. These rooms open onto a central lounge with bar, lounge, restaurant area and a fully equipped kitchen. All types of catering are possible, from simple coffee breaks to sophisticated dinners. In addition, the team of the Zebrastraat is also responsible for the overall organization of complex events such as product presentations, staff parties and fairs in the exhibition wing or in the tent in the central square.
Whereas the first two pillars are managed in an economically justified way, this consideration is of no importance to the pillar CULTURE Zebrastraat not only puts its infrastructure at the disposal, free of charge, for exhibitions, concerts, debates, film screenings and try-outs in order to create a forum to young artists and experimental currents; Zebrastraat besides also invests actively in organizing its own exhibitions and cultural events, among which the biennial “update_” of the latest developments in the technological art is perhaps the best known example. It is not that difficult to bring together these three different activities under one roof. The actual and constant challenge lies in the cross-fertilization: only when the three pillars meet, mix together and – occasionally – collide with one another can a real added value be created. This is why the initiative ZebraPoint was founded: every Thursday residents, artists and seminar participants come together in the bar on the occasion of previews, concerts, debates or simply to have a friendly chat. It is then that Zebrastraat shows its true face.
In 2013, Zebrastraat was extended with the new building New Zebra. There too, the three pillars are combined. There are 36 apartments and studios, a large conference room with a bar, and the restaurant Jour de Fête located. Additionally Zebrastraat was extended with an underground parking for 98 cars, an atrium and a third bar. Spread throughout the site also more than 25 works from the permanent art collection are on display.
In November 2018, the residential complex The Elephant with 14 studios and apartments, opened at the atrium of New Zebra.
CALL FOR ENTRIES: NTAA 2019
The professional jury is composed of:
The Liedts-Meesen Foundation, Jean-Marie Dallet (Artist, research professor at the Université Paris 8), Stef Van Bellingen (Consultant for Zebrastraat / Artistic leader VZW Warp), Paul Dujardin (Artistic Director Bozar), Nick Ervinck (artist, winner of the update_2 public award), Yves Bernard (Artistic Director iMal), Alain Thibault (Artistic Director Elektra), Ralph Dum (Scientific officer and senior expert of the European Commission) and Karen Helmerson (Program Director for Electronic Media, Film & Visual Art at the New York State Council on the Arts (NYSCA)).
During the last few years, Zebrastraat Ghent has developed into a stimulating knowledge centre with a strong interest in art. Every two years we organize a biennial called update_, and the New Technological Art Award (NTAA) contest, which tries to fill in a gap in the mainstream art world, by paying attention to the technological developments that drive our global culture. NTAA selects and presents creations in which the culture-forming role of technology occupies a central place. Low or high tech, intuitive or experimental, the creations always draw our attention to actual innovative trends. The exhibition of achievements of the selected winners is a compass that orients you to the relevant temporal and resilient use of technology in the artistic sector.
The mission of NTAA
NTAA’s mission is to expand the scope of contemporary artistic creations and traditional media with works using contemporary and new technologies in an original and intelligent way: treatment of sounds and light, use of new media, application of innovative evolutions in communications, telecommunications and broadcasting, centered on the world of information, communication, and computers and interaction. These descriptions are in no way restrictive and should be interpreted in the broadest way possible.
General guidelines for entry in the NTAA competition
The aim of the competition is to present works in accordance with NTAA’s mission. The submitted work may have been exhibited previously, but the jury reserves the right to exclude creations that turn out to be not realizable within the limits of the practical possibilities of the Liedts-Meesen Foundation, keeping in mind that the works will be displayed during the exhibition. The basic equipment is available and at the disposal of the selected artists; specific and special equipment must be provided for and lent by the artists for the duration of the exhibition. This international competition is open to all age groups and to all nationalities. Artists can present their candidacy for one art work less than two years old at the time of its submission, but which may already have been exhibited. English is the working language. There is no artist fee. Free accommodation for the artists is available in Zebrastraat. The 20 projects selected by the jury will be rendered public at the website in June 2019.
A cash award of 5,000 euro will be allocated to a work and to its creator. Moreover, the jury reserves the right to award an honorable mention to an artist. The Liedts-Meesen Foundation and the jury reserve the right to not award the prize and to transfer it to the next exhibition. There will also be a public prize and a prize of the European Commission. The winners will be announced at the final day of the exhibition.
For more information, contact art consultant Annelies Geenen – firstname.lastname@example.org.