Creational Trails

The Greater Milwaukee Committee

Funding Received: 2013
Milwaukee, WI
Funding Period: 1 year and 5 months
January 6, 2014

Tournavation; photo courtesy of Art Milwaukee

The continued strategic planning and development of partnerships along West Wisconsin Avenue (or “The Avenue” as we have now deemed it) has allowed the project to keep moving forward without too many road bumps along the way.

After receiving more than 167 submissions for the Call for Placemakers, we reached out to a variety of different leaders along The Avenue—business owners, long-time community members, artists, and the City—to assist in the process of narrowing down the submissions. After four rounds of vetting, we were finally able to choose the final twelve to present at the live pitch event, Tournavation.

From 50-foot Plinko game and colorful murals on cellophane to a variety of sculptures, art galleries on the street through augmented reality, the finalists had many thoughtful, inventive and exciting ideas for The Avenue. We were fortunate to have seven notable jurors including John Norquist, President of the Congress of New Urbanism, as well as representatives from the City and art community. Although the decision was difficult, the judges chose Paul Bestul’s idea for wood and steel structures called “Moire Pavillions” and Ayla Boyle’s “Dreamcatcher,” a web of industrial bungee cords between buildings along the Avenue. As we work with the two winners to further develop their project, we will be pursuing additional funding in the hopes that many of the other submissions might also come to fruition this summer.


Picture of Moire Pavillions; courtesy of Paul Bestul

Recent Wins:
-- Selection of two finalists and two runners-up for placemaking production during the summer event, Tents

-- A local construction company and design firm has agreed to do a live 48 hour build out of a store front that has been empty for 10 years during Tents

-- Additional partnerships created for the artery’s Call for Placemakers outreach efforts


Picture of Wisconsin Ave Dreamcatcher; courtesy of Ayla Boyle

Navigating the often complicated terrain of placemaking, in a city where it is still a relatively new idea, continues to be a learning process. Although this is not a new insight for many, it seems essential to once again emphasize how critical collaboration is in order to be successful.

We want to maintain the integrity of the different communities that each of these “trails” runs through and it only to our advantage to strengthen our ties to those who have already been working tirelessly toward the improvement of each neighborhood.

We are pushing ourselves to reach out to leaders in the community who can act as advocates for this project and recognize the value in placemaking as an investment in the economic development of Milwaukee.