Arts Community Brings Old Building Back to Life

the draw-1Big changes are in store for the historic office building at 800 S. Lawe Street overlooking Lock 3 on the Fox River in the Appleton Flats!  The 5,200 square-foot, white building will become “The Draw,” a venue for artists, creatives and patrons of the arts to work and socialize.

The building served as the corporate offices for the former Riverside Paper Corporation since the early 1900’s.  In 2011, the Riverside Paper Mill across the street was demolished to prepare the site for a new mixed-use residential neighborhood called Eagle Flats.  Today, Eagle Flats is an emerging riverfront hub with more than $4 million in new tax base and two successful apartment buildings.

For two years, Stadtmueller & Associates has been researching potential redevelopment opportunities for the former corporate offices.  After considering several different uses, they decided to pursue a gallery/studio venue to support Appleton’s creative placemaking objectives.  “Downtown Appleton is doing great things to enhance the cultural environment through access to arts, music and cultural activities.  Our goal is to support this effort by extending these opportunities to the riverfront,” said Renee Torzala, Stadtmueller & Associates.

Developers estimate renovation costs to be at least $300,000 to replace the roof, install new mechanicals and restore the interior/exterior of the building.  Multiple artists and creative professionals have already provided letters of intent to lease space inside The Draw, which is expected to open in the spring of 2015.

TheDraw_FINALThe vision for “The Draw” was the mastermind of two local creative professionals, John Adams and Jackie Johnson.  They approached Stadtmueller & Associates about creating a multi-functional, flexible space that could serve as a modern art gallery, office space, and art studios.  Their plans also include a variety of community-supported rooms, such as a darkroom, kiln room, art library and pop-up coffee shop.  Adams will serve as the gallery curator and manager.

“The building and its tenants will put an emphasis on fostering relationships between the Appleton Area School District, Lawrence University and other independent arts and education resources,” said Adams.  “We will bring diverse people together to celebrate, create, inspire and be inspired,” he said.

According to an economic impact study by the Wisconsin Arts Board in 2010, the arts and culture sector in Wisconsin generates $535 million in economic activity, $65 million in local and state revenue, and $479 million in resident income.  “Creative placemaking is a growing strategy for communities to stimulate economic development and improve quality of life,” said Torzala.  “This type of development will help rejuvenate the neighborhood, animate the riverfront and expand Downtown Appleton’s cultural amenities.”

John Adams, Building Curator 

John Adams grew up in Appleton, graduating from Appleton North High School in 2000. From there, he pursued his passion of film making, attending Full Sail University in Winter Park, Florida, where he earned a degree in Film and Video Production. He has spent the last 13 years working in the commercial film industry in Chicago (commuting from his home in Appleton for the last seven years). Since welcoming a daughter in 2013, he has felt his focus shift to spending more time in Appleton, and working to create an artistic environment where he and his family can prosper, along with the rest of the community.

3rd Annual Mini Golf on the Town April 11th

AD1444 Mini Golf PosterMini Golf on the Town
Saturday April 11, 2015
1pm to 6pm

Spend the afternoon in Downtown Appleton at different bars playing a unique hole of mini-golf at each!  Bring your own putter and golfball or use one supplied by the bars.  And enjoy Food & Drink Specials at each of the locations!

Bring your own gallery and enjoy a day of golf and laughs where fun is par for the course!  And don’t forget team costumes are encouraged!

Registration will be open soon! To register, stop in at any of the participating bars (List to be posted below soon.) Register a team of four for just $50 or $15 per individual.

On April 11:
Pick up your Mini Golf on the Town Score Card at the bar you registerd at and map out your course in any order.   Play all 9 holes to be eligible for prizes. End the tournament and bring your score card to the 19th Hole Party at D2 Sports Pub (formerly Anduzzi’s Sports Club) at 5pm. We’ll be giving away a $1000 Prize Pot including: best team costume and more!

Appleton Downtown Inc. Wins Partnership Award from FCCVB

Appleton Downtown Incorporated was honored to accept the Partnership Award from the Fox Cities Convention and Visitors Bureau in 2015.

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The Partnership Award recognizes an organization whose work with the Bureau has been unusually strong and which has let to tangible tourism-related results. The award was presented to both Appleton Downtown Incorporated and Future Neenah. Since 2012, the Bureau has conducted press tours of the Fox Cities. From the beginning, these two organizations have played an integral part in the success of our press tours by securing commitments from many of our area restaurants as well as showcasing their shops and entertainment venues. These tours could not go on, nor the articles be written, without the cooperation and partnership of both of these organizations.

2015 Death By Chocolate People’s Choice Winner

2015 Death By Chocolate People’s Choice Winner is…

Sangria’s Mexican Grill with their White Chocolate Chicken Tostada

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2nd place was Bagelicious with their Chocolate Cronut

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Congratulations to our People’s choice winners and thanks to everyone that enjoyed the 12th Annual, Death by Chocolate Valentine’s Day event, Saturday, Feb 14th.  We look forward to you joining us for Death by Chocolate 2016!

Dynamic Art Exhibits Featured inside Wriston Art Galleries at Lawrence University

Did you know? There is a place in Appleton featuring dynamic art exhibitions with free lectures, receptions, and gallery talks where everyone is invited?

The Wriston Art Galleries at Lawrence University presents eleven different art exhibitions a year. Artists from all over the country have been represented in the space. It is within walking distance from downtown, family-friendly, and handicap accessible. You are guaranteed to see something exciting and different each time you visit. The gallery is open Tuesdays through Fridays, 10 am – 4 pm, and weekends from noon to 4 pm. It is always free. Right now there are four different exhibitions taking place.

Wolves in WI

The wolf hunt in Wisconsin has been a contentious issue that has made the news a lot in the past year. This exhibition designed by students from Environmental Studies Symposium: Art and Biodiversity Conservation explore the impact of the wolf population on plants, animals and humans around the state. Using different artistic means of expression, the students of this course show all sides of the issue. This exhibition can open you mind to how we are all impacted by the changing wolf population in Wisconsin.

Ancient Coin

Heads Up!: Visualizing the Past through Ancient Coins. Interested in coins or ancient history? Curious about how people over 2,000 years ago represented themselves? This exhibition was created by Lawrence University students in the course Ancient and Byzantine Coins: An Exhibition Seminar and features bronze, silver, and gold coins from Ancient Greece, Rome, and the Byzantine Empire.

Sarah Gross Continental Drift

Ceramic artist Sarah Gross has created a room-sized art experience in her installation Continental Drift. Sarah has made over 1,000 hand-made tiles that fill the gallery with texture, color, and pattern. Her inspiration comes from the history of ceramics and she references Chinese, Dutch, Islamic, and American pottery traditions in this display. These pieces “hover” above the gallery floor, creating interlacing paths for the eye to track. It will be a visual experience you won’t soon forget.

Jason Yi Terraform

Milwaukee based artist Jason S. Yi creates sculptures from ordinary objects such as chairs, ladders and tape in his exhibition Terraform. These objects are transformed into nature-inspired formations. They make visitors think of mountains, clouds, and the colors of the rainbow. His exhibition at the Wriston Art Galleries takes familiar things and makes them extraordinary, forcing us to look at them in a new way.

There are many other chances to learn about the exhibitions: every month there is an Art @ Noon gallery talk. If you are looking for something different to do during your lunch hour this is a perfect opportunity for a visit. Art @ Noon is a half hour talk in the galleries about a unique aspect of the exhibitions on display. Learn about the artists, the process of putting on exhibitions, and even some art history in these brief and informal discussions. Questions are welcome and gallery staff love to see new faces! It gives you a nice chance to take in some art and still have time for a meal.

Upcoming Art @ Noon talks are scheduled for:

  • March 12
  • April 16
  • May 28
  • July 16

Want to visit but can’t make one of these times? The Wriston Art Gallery staff are happy to set up a group tour with you. With a collection that spans from ancient to contemporary with 4,000 individual objects, the Wriston Art Galleries at Lawrence University is a gem in Appleton. Staff are delighted to share the collections, exhibitions, educational activities, and social opportunities with everyone.

Leslie Walfish
Collections Coordinator
Wriston Art Galleries
Lawrence University

Mini Golf on the Town

Saturday April 11, 2015
1pm to 6pm

ad1125 mini-golf logo-smallSpend the afternoon in Downtown Appleton at different bars playing a unique hole of mini-golf at each!  Bring your own putter and golfball or use one supplied by the bars.  And enjoy Food & Drink Specials at each of the locations!

Bring your own gallery and enjoy a day of golf and laughs where fun is par for the course!  And don’t forget team costumes are encouraged!

Registration will be open soon! To register, stop in at any of the participating bars (List to be posted below soon.) Register a team of four for just $50 or $15 per individual.

On April 11:
Pick up your Mini Golf on the Town Score Card at the bar you registerd at and map out your course in any order.   Play all 9 holes to be eligible for prizes. End the tournament and bring your score card to the 19th Hole Party at D2 Sports Pub (formerly Anduzzi’s Sports Club) at 5pm. We’ll be giving away a $1000 Prize Pot including: best team costume and more!

Study Suggest Replacing Ramp, Other Parking Improvements Downtown

A parking study conducted by Walker Parking Consultants suggests a series of improvements in parking services downtown, including a replacement mixed-use parking ramp to meet future parking demands.

“The Downtown Parking Study Report is a planning tool that will guide us through decisions related to the policies and practices of our public parking system,” said Public Works Director Paula Vandehey.

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The study covered a 56-block area of downtown and includes four different planning scenarios for the future. The report also contains 15 recommendations for parking improvements to enhance the overall delivery of parking services to the downtown community.

Some of the recommendations include:

    • Replacing the Solider Square Ramp with a 575-space mixed-use ramp near the YMCA
    • Adoption of credit card and mobile payment options for ramp and on-street parking
    • Two new “neighborhood parking zones” in the North and East portions of downtown
    • New tiered pricing structure for parking ramps
    • Reduced on-street enforcement hours from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. instead of 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.

The study will help the city implement ways to more efficiently manage available parking resources and provide better parking options. The study recommends utilizing new technology to improve parking services in ramps and on-street parking downtown to meet the community’s expectations. The study engaged city staff, Appleton Downtown Inc., Lawrence University, the YMCA, Outagamie County, downtown businesses and community members. The study will be presented to the Municipal Services Committee on February 10 at 5:30 p.m