Houdini Tower Showcases One Great Place Local Artistic Talents

2015-2016 Installation One Great Place  Houdini Tower in Houdini Plaza

Artisanship is a valued asset in our community and conducting our very first Houdini Tower photo contest for the centerpiece of our downtown is a great way to showcase this local talent!  


This year’s photo contest, sponsored by Creative Downtown Appleton Inc. and Sculpture Valley, celebrates the launch of Downtown’s new brand: One Great Place! The winning photos, on display through the summer of 2016, represent unique perspectives on people, places and events that make Downtown Appleton One Great Place to be! The submissions we received came from a wide array of skill levels and a spanning wide demographic range.

Creative Downtown Appleton and Sculpture Valley support the belief that the arts are an integral part of a healthy culture, economy and community. Public art connects people to a sense of place and can create a strong identity and competitive edge that helps attract young talent as well as visiting populations. 

Cities gain value through public art: cultural, social and economic value. Public art is a part of our public history and our evolving culture. It reflects and reveals our society and adds meaning and uniqueness to our community. Public art invigorates public spaces and is freely accessible. By creating a community that is active and vibrant with public art it becomes a catalyst for community generation.

Public art brings artists, vision and people together to inspire creativity and elevate a community’s sense of place and ultimately attracting a creative class. Public art matters.


“The Houdini Tower was created with the idea that these picture boxes would change over time, sharing images of our past, interpretations of our present and visions of our collective future. Appleton is proud to offer this opportunity to collaborate with our community partners and our area artists alike.”

-Karen Harkness

Here are your winning photographers for One Great Place, 2015-2016


Photographer: Jeff Lange, Skatepark Opening


Photographer: Ashly Gust, College Ave Bridge Sunset, Summer of 2014


Photographer: Lilly Owens, Houdini

This is my 8-year-old brother Dane as Harry Houdini. He had to give a speech dressed as him for 2nd grade and loved dressing up so we thought it would be fun to take pictures downtown.


  Photographer: James Vervoort, Trestle with Eagle


  Photographer: Michael R. Burmesch, Yarn Bench


  Photographer: Michael R. Burmesch, Zuelke Building

Michael’s photos are all taken with the use of lens attachments and his iPhone, a new art form commonly called iPhoneography. His work can be seen in galleries, museums and local businesses around the state under the name Mb Squared Photography. Full-time, Michael is the Graphic Communications Manager for the AIDS Resource Center of Wisconsin (ARCW), having earned his BFA (Bachelor of Fine Arts) degree in Communication Design from the Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design (MIAD). Michael currently resides in Bay View, Wisconsin, a Milwaukee lakefront community. Learn more about Michael at: www.MichaelBurmesch.com


James Vervoort

Black and White and Color License to Cruise


Justin “Perry” Meyer

Drew St. “graffiti” wall


Erik Kielisch

Downtown Appleton Church Door


Erik Kielisch

Downtown Appleton Rail Bridge Walkway


Trevor Lord

Stairs at Lawrence University


Shirley Wolf

The horse head at 207 W. College Ave.  There was a livery stable at that location in the early days of Appleton.


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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!

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