Thanks to grants from Principal® and the Mielke Family Foundation, 16 traffic control boxes in Downtown Appleton featuring artistic representations of the diverse cultures of the Fox Cities will be unveiled following a brief presentation in Houdini Plaza at 6 p.m. this Friday, July 15. Creative Downtown Appleton, a 501(c)3 organization administered by Downtown Appleton Inc., spearheaded the project with help from the City of Appleton and Appleton Area School District, and Executive Director Jennifer Stephany will speak at the unveiling.
"Public Art provides cultural, social, and economic value by reflecting our society and adding meaning and uniqueness to our community," says Stephany, executive director of Appleton Downtown Inc. and Creative Downtown Appleton. “The art on the traffic boxes will highlight cultural and minority populations throughout the Fox Cities thereby bringing awareness and sharing stories about each population through art and imagery."
Georgia Van Gundy, Principal® assistant vice president, Community Relations and Government Relations, states, “Principal is proud to support public art which focuses on building strong communities through the promotion of diversity, public access for all to art, and an enriched quality of life. The project is a demonstration of how collective action can have a lasting impact on a community.”
Community Cultural Organization Partners for the project include African Heritage, Inc.; Casa Hispana; Fox Valley LGBTQ Anti-Violence Project; Fox Valley Memory Project; Hmong-American Partnership; IndUS of Fox Valley; American Indian Services of the Fox Valley; Fox Valley Memory Project and NAMI Fox Valley. The artwork was created in collaboration with students in Wilson Middle School, Madison Middle School, Einstein Middle School, Roosevelt/Kaleidoscope Middle School, Appleton East High
School, Appleton North High School, Appleton West High School, Appleton Career Academy and the Renaissance School for the Arts.
“The Mielke Family Foundation is proud to be a part of this exciting public art and educational project,” says Renee Ulman, chair of the grants committee and board member of the Mielke Family Foundation. “We feel that it is an innovative way to highlight the growing diversity of our community, add to the overall aesthetic quality of the downtown area in Appleton, and share the creative voices of our middle and high school art students.”
Sarah Boge, eighth grade teacher at Einstein explains, “This spring several cultural organizations in the Valley presented their missions to Einstein students. Students learned about many different local organizations that celebrate culture and the role art plays in their culture. As an outcome of these presentations eighth graders created Mandalas and focused on the importance meditation holds in their creations.
“Using old record albums donated by St. Vincent De Paul each student drew and painted a Mandala starting from a single point. While designing, creating, and destructing are all important elements of making a Mandala, the students focused on creating a radial design that celebrated the path of the work rather than an end result.
“I'm grateful for the efforts of civic involvement in the work schools do. Community involvement of our youth gives a voice to our younger citizens and empowers them to make positive social change. I cannot think of a better way to bridge social change than through the medium of art,” says Boge.
Maps of the traffic control box locations will be available at all of the Art on the Town locations, the Radisson Paper Valley Hotel and the Fox Cities Convention and Visitors Bureau.
Creative Downtown Appleton Inc.’s mission is to create and enhance the cultural environment of Downtown Appleton by providing opportunities for community access to arts, music and cultural activities. As the premier arts and entertainment district in its region, the downtown district draws visitors from all over the Fox Valley and beyond. The work of our organization also impacts the 7,400 employees that work in this district and the 6,148 households within one mile of downtown.
For more information about the Out of the Box Traffic Control boxes, Creative Downtown Appleton or a complete listing of upcoming ADI events and promotions, visit: www.appletondowntown.org; on Facebook at Appleton Downtown; or on Twitter @dwtnappleton.