WillyWash by Roy Elkins

WillyWash is a great example of how a forward thinking group of folks can get together and make something significant happen. They met at the Student Union on the UW campus in Madison, Wisconsin and discussed many things. The focus of this meeting was to develop the area between the capital and the Yahara river into a music and arts district.  The southern border would be Willy Street and the north would be East Washington, hence the name WillyWash.  The group was born.

Yahara River WillyWash
Yahara River on Madison’s East Side

All kinds of ideas for this project have emerged including a performance venue, a charter school, a themed based restaurant museum, music rehearsal spaces and street performance venues.  But the primary idea is to create an artistic zone where Madison citizens who enjoy music, can live, work and play in.  The movers also hope to attract tourists and new high tech business to the area as well.

High tech businesses are attracted to culturally creative environments. If there is a strong artistic nightlife, there is a work force who are intelligent and creative. Many tech start ups are in the process of bringing lots of young and talented people to the workplace. They need a place to play and live as well and that’s what the WillyWash initiative is all about.

Madison is ripe for this kind of development as the city is growing and the music scene is rockin’.  Recently, the Madison Area Music Association hosted their annual awards show and the talent has reached a new level. Here is a link to the winners list and another to the a review of the multi-winners.

They WillyWashmovers” have made a choice to make something happen. If there is a movement with a potential return on investment, the capitalists will be there.  Numerous projects have already been launched and many more are following.

Please visit the WillyWash site for more detail. It’s amazing what a small group of citizens can do.


Press & educational links – Hangout June 6, 2014, “Blanket” Music Licensing, Industry Projections, Celebrating Sonic Foundry, A Music Platform, Project Famous – Great Photographer, Models of Opportunity: How Entrepreneurs Design Firms


2 thoughts on “Willywash”

  1. Thanks from Willy Wash: A Musical Yahara. Join us: Contact Rokker@willywash.org Soon we will draft our Food, Arts, Music, Environment (FAME) for Good concept. Join us! A test is the youth workshops at Wil-Mar that Hanah Jon Taylor is holding in connection with Pan African night at Central Park July 31.

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