If You Had $500 to Make Downtown Appleton a Better PLACE What Would You Do?

Get engaged in Downtown placemaking! 

What would you do?

Share your idea with Appleton Downtown Inc. by leaving a detailed comment on this page.

Leave your comment (link above or box below) and fill in your answer to: My $500 placemaking project idea is….

Please submit your idea by Sept 30!

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Mini Placemaking Grant Details

Share your mini Placemaking project idea and the ADI Creative Downtown Committee will review all submitted ideas for possible completion.  Please comment with your name and contact email address.

A winning project will be selected by October 8th. 

When we complete the project we will award you with a $50 Downtown Gift Certificate!

Other mini grants this year included:

    • corralFunding towards the bike corral in front of Harmony Cafe
    • Adirondack chairs in Houdini Plaza.

Grants can also be used to leverage additional fundraising to accomplish a larger community project.

More About Creative Placemaking

  • Creative Placemaking animates public and private spaces, rejuvenates structures and streetscapes, improves local business viability and public safety, creates jobs beyond the arts and brings diverse people together to celebrate, create, inspire and be inspired.
  • In creative Placemaking public, private, not-for-profit and community sectors partner to strategically shape the physical and social character of a neighborhood, city or region, around arts and cultural activities.
  • Creative Placemaking is about getting artists and designers, community culture groups, arts research groups, cultural affairs offices and arts organizations out of their silos and into the neighborhoods and regions around them.
  • The nonprofit arts and cultural sector in Wisconsin generates $535 million in economic activity, $65 million in local and state revenue, $479 million in resident income, and employs nearly 50,000 full-time jobs among 12,000 businesses.  Creative development is evident and growing in every corner of the state.
  • Creative centers also tend to be places with thick labor markets that can fulfill the employment needs of members of the creative class, who, by and large, are not looking just for “a job” but for places that offer many employment opportunities.

Please share your favorite creative placemaking project ideas below. We welcome your contributions and community conversation.

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There's so much to like about Downtown Appleton. Thanks to its 60+ distinctive shops ... 50+ casual, fine dining and ethnic restaurants... nearly 30 pubs, clubs and live music hot spots ... a leading performing arts center and world-class visual arts gallery ... family-friendly activities and attractions ... a variety of coffee shops and gathering places ... PLUS Northeast Wisconsin's best events, Downtown Appleton is a favorite destination for many -- and it just keeps getting better and better!

14 thoughts on “If You Had $500 to Make Downtown Appleton a Better PLACE What Would You Do?”

  1. My $500 placemaking project idea is to decorate the downtown alleyways with strung lights. I am unsure of the approvals this would need in order to see it through but it would bring some life, light (obviously), and aesthetic appeal to alleys that are currently only used for service and delivery trucks (if that). For some good examples of these just google “alley strung lights” and you will see the impact that this simple addition has on the vibe of an urban environment. If you are worried about truck traffic, we can place them high enough to allow clearance for all needed traffic. Thanks for running this cool project!

  2. My $500 placemaking project idea is to enlist a group of elementary school students to paint/draw a large mural on a highly visible but currently underutilized building exterior downtown and then have that painting expanded upon (or “finished”) by local artists.

    For examples of what I am talking about check out the links below:

    I believe a project like this would bring the community together in spirit, provide a teaching opportunity for young people all while providing more progressive artwork to our cityscape. A project like this could assist in attracting, retaining and empowering the creative class.

    1. On the same lines…instead of on a wall, have them paint on the 4 “corners” on the sidewalk where there is a stop light. Eventually, (with more funds) each corner would have sidewalk art. The art could reflect what is sold downtown. Ie: shoes, coffee, night life, music, clothes, etc.
      On another note…
      It would have been nice to have a “spot light” on the “Hat” at the Trout Museum.

  3. If there were $500 available to make downtown a better place I would definitely say making a beautiful sign as you enter each side of the avenue that says Appleton College Avenue…either above head or on the side…especially on the Lawrence bridge side coming from the east…I take pride in the beauty of the road/scenery and it should be recognized by visitors as something to open your eyes and make sure you truly see what is coming. I travel and love to see these types of things throughout my ventures….even take pictures next to them!

    1. As I was thinking about this project just now…I had a similar idea. So , of course, I AGREE!
      “Downtown Appleton Welcomes you!” Use Vibrate colors and graphics.
      Great idea, Kristine!

  4. I love the lights on the side of the Trout museum building. Wouldn’t want to make downtown too gaudy…but I think spicing up other areas with colored lights would be fun all year around! Lamp poles. Business canopies. Benches. Trees. Anyplace else they’d look groovy! 🙂

  5. Few ideas:

    Dragons vs tigers mural.

    Giant bronze duck statue (or rooster – people could vote?)


    Secession (Free Appleton. Who’s with me?)

    Full-time close up magician for Houdini Plaza.

    Squirrel bridge (like Longview, Washington’s Nutty Narrows) allowing safe passage across the road for our bushy-tailed citizens.

    Mount Rushmore-style tribute to the 1992 United States Men’s Olympic Basketball Team.

  6. Use the money to update the inside of the mall there on the second level and try to bring in more people. Try to get restaurants or something in there and fill the place. Make it family friendly. It doesnt just have to be shops. Have more family friendly activities going on in downtown. We love the farmers market and the halloween thing in the mall there. Would love to have more to take the kids to go and do that doesnt cost an arm and a leg each time.

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