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Belle Isle Aquarium Weathervane Design Competition offers historic opportunity for creative Michiganders; Design competition, sponsored by Butzel Long, runs August 1 through August 29, 2014; Winning entrant receives $500 prize

DETROIT, Mich. – Designers often hope for an opportunity to make a meaningful mark on history. Now, they have a chance as the Belle Isle Aquarium celebrates a milestone – its 110th birthday. The Belle Isle Aquarium is hosting a Weathervane Design Competition, sponsored by the Butzel Long law firm. The contest begins on Friday, August 1, 2014 and ends at midnight on Friday, August 29, 2014.

The winning entrant will receive a $500 prize. The weathervane design will adorn the Belle Isle Aquarium’s cupola. The design competition is open to U.S. citizens at least 18 years of age (a maximum of one entry per person). Entry forms can be downloaded at Submissions will be reviewed by a five-person Belle Isle Aquarium weathervane jury for merit and feasibility. The winning designer will be notified by Friday, September 12, 2014. The winning design will be announced on Friday, September 19, 2014 during a private party at the Belle Isle Aquarium.

“Butzel Long’s ties to the Belle Isle Aquarium date back to 1899 when Leo Butzel’s cousin David Heineman introduced a bill to construct a combined aquarium and horticultural building in Belle Isle Park,” said Richard E. Rassel, Chairman, Butzel Long. “This year, our firm is celebrating its 160th anniversary. This is one of many ways we are honoring our Detroit roots throughout the year.

“The Belle Isle Aquarium is a hidden gem in our community,” added Rassel. “At the time it opened in 1904, the Belle Isle Aquarium was the third largest public aquarium in the world. The winning entrant’s design is historic because the weathervane will be something that can be enjoyed by families today as well as by future generations.”

Terms and Conditions

Contest Guidelines

• Entrants must incorporate the following elements into the design:

1. Must be at least 2.5 feet long but no larger than 4 feet long, no wider than 9 inches, and large enough to be visible from the adjacent parking lot.
2. Must function as a weathervane and rotate with the wind.
3. It must be made of non-corrosive metal.
4. The design’s weight must be appropriate for the roof and functionality of the weathervane.
5. The design must include north, south, east and west directionals.

• The design should capture the essence of the Belle Isle Aquarium and its historic character.
• Entries must include a text description of the design and a to-scale, color drawing that will be unveiled on September 19, 2014 at a private party at the Belle Isle Aquarium.
• The construction of a proposed design must not exceed $7,500. Entries must include a preliminary budget of the cost to construct and assemble the weathervane, identification of the person who will construct the weathervane, and a timeline for project completion.
• The design must be your own original, unpublished work and must not include any third-party logos or copyrighted material. By entering the competition, you agree that your submission is your own work.
• The winning entrant will receive a $500 prize.

Submitting an Entry

•Fill out the entry form completely, which can be downloaded at and email it to: with a subject line: “Aquarium Weathervane Competition.”
• Digital entries only. High-resolution images in jpeg or pdf are preferred.
• Submissions will be accepted through midnight on Friday, August 29, 2014.


• Competition opens: Friday, August 1, 2014.
•Competition closes: Friday, August 29, 2014.
•Jury deliberation: Week of September 8, 2014.
•The winning designer will be notified by Friday, September 12, and the winning design will be announced on Friday, September 19, 2014.

The Fine Print

• Maximum of one entry per person.
•You must be a U.S. citizen and at least 18 years of age.
• Entry form should include a biography of the artist.
• Submissions will be evaluated by a five-person Belle Isle Aquarium Weathervane jury for merit and feasibility.
• The Belle Isle Aquarium Weathervane Committee reserves the right to make changes to the winning design before construction occurs.
• The decision of the judges is final.
• Construction of the winning design will be completed by a third party.
• The name of the winning entrant will be announced in a press release.
• The winning entrant agrees to be interviewed about his/her weathervane design.
• The winning entrant agrees to be photographed and to allow his/her photograph to appear in Belle Isle Conservancy and/or Butzel Long promotional material.
• Upon winning the contest, the winning entrant agrees that the artwork and design of the weathervane becomes the sole possession of the Belle Isle Conservancy and may not be reproduced in any form by the entrant without the permission of the Belle Isle Conservancy.
• The Belle Isle Conservancy reserves the right to merchandise the weathervane.

About the Belle Isle Conservancy

The Belle Isle Conservancy is a new, nonprofit organization with a mission to restore, preserve, protect and enhance the natural environment, historic structures and unique character of Detroit’s scenic Belle Isle as a public park. Four long-time park advocacy agencies—Belle Isle Women’s Committee, Belle Isle Botanical Society, Friends of Belle Isle and the Friends of Belle Isle Aquarium—merged in 2011 to form the Conservancy. For more information, visit

About Butzel Long

Butzel Long is one of the leading law firms in the United States. It was founded in 1854, making this year its 160th anniversary of providing trusted client service. Butzel’s full-service offices are located in Detroit, Bloomfield Hills, Lansing and Ann Arbor, Mich.; New York, NY; and, Washington, D.C., as well as alliance offices in Beijing, Shanghai, Mexico City and Monterrey. It is an active member of Lex Mundi, a global association of 160 independent law firms. Learn more by visiting