Creational Trails

The Greater Milwaukee Committee

Funding Received: 2013
Milwaukee, WI
Funding Period: 1 year and 5 months
October 20, 2013

Communal installation of bicycle inner tubes woven into chain link fence at the artery, reflecting the imaginative eyes of a neighborhood kid

The core concept for ‘Creational Trails has evolved into a framework for integrating creativity to connect people to spaces.  In the past month, we’ve untangled the connection of ‘art’ and its ‘place’ in ‘making.’  We are refining a process to de-fine art to include the role of culture and social experience in shaping spaces, ultimately connecting people, which in turn yields place. This process focuses the intangible art of community.

After hosting a series of neighborhood events over the summer, interfacing with the Mayor, and various municipal entities in Milwaukee, strong partnerships are in place for the short-term activation of these spaces and the long term creative economic vitality as a result of this people-centric process. Installations in the practice of the ‘place-making’ theory have increased curiosity and generated significant enthusiasm for identity of place.

Beintween and Art Milwaukee, in cooperation with the Greater Milwaukee Committee and cultural geographer Sara Daleiden, have set forth requests for proposals and curated a panel of advisors/jurors that reflect the two distinct spaces and how strategically to incorporate not only painters and sculptors, but designers and farmers, fabricators and community engagers, writers and performers.  These calls will be released in October.

Fortunately, Milwaukee is a town full of makers; we have realized our goal for ‘Creational Trails is to collect a series of cultural makers who can creatively connect within these collaborative spaces.   As such, an inclusive array of artists and artisans will be invited to submit proposals to both open calls as well as commissioned community pieces of ‘art’ working to set the stage for the social production of place.

Tire art on bridge

Recent Wins

-- Development of an overarching website for tracking indicators called ‘Creational Trails, which will provide insight for the transformation of space to place, creating a navigational recipe for the cultural production in the City of Milwaukee for neighborhood enhancement, engagement, and empowerment.

-- City of Milwaukee deploys $784K towards acquisition of 8 acres of the privately owned rail corridor and 2/3 mile extension of the Beerline recreational trail for 2/3 mile at the artery in Summer 2014.

-- The creation of an open-sourced community building approach to the standard RFP process called Tounavation. Tournavation is a  tournament for innovated ideas that takes an crowd sourcing approach to the public and allows the top 10 finalists to pitch live on stage in City Hall. Tournavation can become a brand standard for open sourced community involvement. By using a branding approach to the RFP process it allows for more interest, attention and participation. Tournavation will allow the community to gather around and participate in a social event to discuss ideas, art, place-making and watch the 10 finalists present their vision. Finalists will be selected by a juried panel and guests will be invited to text their choice which will be revealed at the event.


Prowess of process: Nothing is as critical to the generation of place-making as process; hands-on site activities spawn collaboration formulaic to the bonding of people and space.  That said, there is a prowess to engaging a community.  We have discovered how eager youth are towards the act of making, and the fundamental experience that comes from working with people from not only different backgrounds and skill sets, but the inter-generational dynamic integral to a neighborhood and its identity.