Iconic Madison: What would it take? Enter our contest to inspire tourism!

When you think St. Louis, you think arch, right? Minneapolis is Mall of America now, even though the 40 million annual visitors are really going to nearby (15 minutes away) Bloomington. New York is Radio City Music Hall. Seattle is the Space Needle. River Walk is synonymous with San Antonio. The Willis Tower (better known still as the Sears Tower), the tallest building in North America, is an icon forever for Chicago.

Beyond the UW and Monona Terrace (and most larger cities have both universities and convention centers), what’s Madison’s tourist magnet? What is the iconic draw? What could it be?

Some time ago, someone gave Bill Haight a drawing of an idea for a State Street canal and water ferry (see below). Bill passed it along to me after we had a similar discussion on the topic of icons over lunch, so whoever wants credit for that drawing/idea, let me know, because I’m entering this idea (on John Doe’s behalf) in our contest.

What contest?

IB is sponsoring a contest to design (or think up) the perfect icon for Madison. First-, second- and third-place winners will be announced in mid-July. The entry deadline is July 1, so don’t panic – you’ve got time to muse and to sketch. We’ll be asking unbiased “outside” tourism pros to judge all entries before submitting them to (returning) Madison Mayor Paul Soglin and Deb Archer of the Greater Madison Convention and Visitor’s Bureau. You don’t have to be an architect to enter, though professional visionaries like Peter Tan are encouraged to do so, of course. You can express your idea in words, in drawing, in model, in painting, in poetry – we don’t care. Draw it on a napkin if you like. Rules are meaningless. All that matters is that we get great ideas to pass along.

This is a great project for drafting or art student groups, too. And senior centers. We want ideas from everyone, everwhere!

Why enter?

We will publish many of the ideas in our August issue of In Business magazine, making you famous for your creativity, vision, and love of the Greater Madison area. And we might even be able to throw in tickets for a few special events hosted by IB, too. Like we said, no rules except the deadline.

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