All about Wisconsin Creates

Wisconsin Creates is a proposed statewide program to invest in Wisconsin’s creative sector, encouraging partnership with local and regional public/private resources, working with for-profit and non-profit businesses and agencies of local government.

Wisconsin Creates…
…encourages economic and community development, guiding 21st century jobs, businesses, and experiences in the creative sector

Wisconsin Creates…
strengthens arts and creativity in education, helping all Wisconsin students succeed and developing a 21st century workforce

Wisconsin Creates…
…invests in infrastructure and entrepreneurship, providing capacity for creative sector businesses and organizations’ outreach, engagement and education programs.

Wisconsin Creates is all about using the arts and creativity for a vibrant, innovative, and successful Wisconsin.  Strengthening Wisconsin’s creative economy is a critical strategy for the state and all of its communities to compete in the global economy, educate our children, engage residents, and to develop, attract and retain entrepreneurs and a high skilled work force through healthy, vibrant communities where people want to live, work, learn, and play.
When the program becomes a reality, it will be the first increase to arts and cultural funding in Wisconsin in over 20 years, and will mean opportunities for more funding of arts and cultural programs throughout the state.   Wisconsin Creates  will be administered by the Wisconsin Arts Board through a 2:1 matching program.

Wisconsin and U.S. Creative Economy Benefits

  • Wisconsin’s creative sector provides over 91,000 full time jobs, according to Dun and Bradstreet (in comparison to 31,000 paper industry jobs and 35,000 biotech industry jobs.
  •  Nonprofit arts businesses provide an annual economic impact of $657 million in direct economic activity that generates $72.5 million in local and state revenues
  • According to the U.S. Department of Commerce Bureau of Economic Analysis, the U.S. production of arts and cultural goods added more than $760 billion to the U.S. economy, with a $30 billion international trade surplus.  Wisconsin’s economic impact is $9.1 billion. 

Wisconsin Programs and Projects:

Beloit Ironworks Project

  • The former Beloit Corporation foundry has been revamped to create Ironworks, currently employing over 1,000 people in various software and creative businesses; the Beloit International Film Festival is a community engagement and cultural tourism experience; and Beloit College is a partner with the private sector to revitalize the community and create jobs.

Downtown Milwaukee

  • Sculpture Milwaukee brings world-class public art to the streets
  • Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra’s restoration and revitalization of the Grand Theater, one of Milwaukee’s most iconic buildings and the gem of West Wisconsin Avenue, will create the Milwaukee Symphony Center, a modern symphony experience within the historic venue
  • The Milwaukee Art Museum’s iconic Calatrava addition has become a symbol of the community.

NE Wisconsin

  • Annual Mile of Music celebration in Appleton attended by 80,000 people
  • Green Bay is extending its “brand” to enhance the visitor experience and provide jobs, with public art on the Fox River and artisan training at NWTC
  • Door County welcomes over 4 million people to the peninsula each year, many of them visiting small creative businesses, from art galleries to theaters

Southwest Wisconsin Driftless Region

  • National Brewery Museum, Potosi – community revitalization and workforce growth
  • Creative and Heritage Tourism in Mineral Point
  • American Players Theatre and Taliesin, Spring Green – cultural tourism destinations as major employers and educators

Sauk County

  • Annual Fermentation Fest and Farm/Art D’Tour in October brings 25,000+ visitors to experience the arts and creativity in a beautiful rural environment
  • Cities of Reedsburg, Wisconsin Dells, and Baraboo investing in public art and quality of life for residents and visitors
  • Circus World and the Revitalized Al Ringling Theatre as destinations and employers
  • Great Sauk Bike Trail is an experience for residents and visitors

Pablo Center at the Confluence, Eau Claire

  • Transformational downtown public-private development project located in the heart of Eau Claire
  • Jamf Software Company Founder Zac Halmsted and Justin Vernon, internationally known as Bon Iver, were inspired to revitalize blighted land at the confluence of the Eau Claire and Chippewa Rivers
  • Project includes UW-Eau Claire, community space, mixed-use retail, hotel, housing and entertainment

Northwoods Wisconsin

  • Fab Labs as workforce training hubs hosted by the Vilas County Economic Development Corporation
  • Land of Lakes Artisans, Campanile Center in Minocqua, Artstart in Rhinelander, Warehouse Art Center in Eagle River, Three Lakes Center for the Arts, as attractions and destinations

Fond du Lac Downtown Cultural District/Thelma Center for the Arts

  • Small investment by the state was the impetus for the community and businesses to work together to revitalize downtown Fond du Lac
  • Large employers  such as Mercury Marine and Michels Pipeline were the leaders in creating and developing community and cultural assets to enable both the hiring and retention of the required workforce      

Waupaca Creative Sector Development Plan

  • Led by the city of Waupaca and made possible with thousands of volunteer community hours
  • Creative sector planning and development for growing jobs, energizing businesses and vibrant quality of life
  • The plan recommends education and quality of life investment to build skills for the 21st Century Workforce and keep Waupaca a place where families want to work and play.

What’s happening with Wisconsin Creates?

The push to establish Wisconsin Creates,  a new statewide program to invest in Wisconsin’s creative economy, continues to move forward.   Senate Bill (SB) #284 and Assembly Bill (AB) #393, the legislation created to establish this 21st century development program, are currently active and under consideration in the 2017-2018 legislative session.  In October, SB284 passed the Senate Committee on Small Business, Agriculture, and Tourism and AB393 passed the Assembly Committee on Jobs and the Economy, both with unanimous votes.

Wisconsin Creates will support for-profit and non-profit businesses and agencies of local government on:
  • Economic and community development – developing jobs, businesses, and experiences in the creative sector
  • Arts and creativity in education – helping our kids succeed and developing a 21st century workforce
  • Infrastructure and capacity building – strengthening arts and creative for-profit and non-profit businesses and organizations’ outreach, engagement and education programs.
Wisconsin Creates is all about using the arts and creativity for a vibrant, innovative, and successful Wisconsin.  Strengthening Wisconsin’s creative economy is a critical strategy for the state and all of its communities to compete in the global economy, educate our children, engage residents, and to develop, attract and retain entrepreneurs and a high skilled work force through healthy, vibrant communities where people want to live, work, learn, and play.
When the program becomes a reality, it will be the first increase to arts and cultural funding in Wisconsin in over 20 years, and will mean opportunities for more funding of arts and cultural programs throughout the state.   Wisconsin Creates  will be administered by the Wisconsin Arts Board.
What happens now?   Your involvement is critical!  Register for Arts Day 2018 on Wednesday, March 21, at the Overture Center for the Arts in downtown Madison, where people who care about Wisconsin’s future – people like you! – to speak up for investment in 21st century development and infrastructure.
Arts Day is the release date of 21st Century Wisconsin, a report from Arts Wisconsin and the League of Wisconsin Municipalities, on the state of Wisconsin’s creative economy and action planning for strong, sustained growth.  Register today for Arts Day!

Update on Wisconsin Creates, 10-18-17

Sen. Sheila Harsdorf (R-River Falls) and Rep. Warren Petryk (R-Eleva) are co-sponsors of Wisconsin Creates, a new statewide program to invest in Wisconsin’s creative sector for economic, educational and civic success.

Senate Bill #284 and Assembly Bill #393 are currently up for review in the Legislature.  The legislation was passed unanimously by the Senate Committee on Small Business, Agriculture, and Tourism, and a hearing with the Assembly Committee on Jobs and the Economy was held at the State Capitol, both on October 18, 2017.

This 21st century development program will be a program of the Wisconsin Arts Board and will provide funds to for-profit and non-profit businesses and agencies of local government to support:

  • local and regional creative economic development that creates and expands jobs, businesses and income, through downtown and community revitalization, civic engagement, and cultural tourism programs
  • arts and creativity in education for all students as a critical strategy for workforce development, to expand skills training; stimulate creative thinking, idea generation, innovation and inspiration; and enable entrepreneurship – all qualities needed in the 21st century world and workforce
  • Infrastructure and capacity building – supporting creative sector for-profit and non-profit businesses and organizations’ outreach, engagement and education for their audiences.

Click here for more information on Wisconsin Creates.  When this program is established, it will be the first increase to arts funding in Wisconsin in over 20 years.

Wisconsin Creates legislation under review – fall 2017

Sen. Sheila Harsdorf (R-River Falls) and Rep. Warren Petryk (R-Eleva) are co-sponsors of Wisconsin Creates, a new statewide program to invest in Wisconsin’s creative sector for economic, educational and civic success.

Senate Bill #284 and Assembly Bill #393 are currently up for review in the Legislature and there will be hearings in the near future to move the program forward.   This 21st century development program will be a program of the Wisconsin Arts Board and will provide funds to for-profit and non-profit businesses and agencies of local government to support:

  • local and regional creative economic development that creates and expands jobs, businesses and income, through downtown and community revitalization, civic engagement, and cultural tourism programs
  • arts and creativity in education for all students as a critical strategy for workforce development, to expand skills training; stimulate creative thinking, idea generation, innovation and inspiration; and enable entrepreneurship – all qualities needed in the 21st century world and workforce
  • Infrastructure and capacity building – supporting creative sector for-profit and non-profit businesses and organizations’ outreach, engagement and education for their audiences.

Click here for more information on Wisconsin Creates.  When this program is established, it will be the first increase to arts funding in Wisconsin in over 20 years.

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Wisconsin Creates legislation under review – spring 2017

Sen. Sheila Harsdorf (R-River Falls) and Rep. Warren Petryk (R-Eleva) are currently circulating draft legislation (LRB #2325/1) to establish Wisconsin Creates, a new statewide program to invest in Wisconsin’s creative sector for economic, educational and civic success.

Click here for the draft bill legislation – LRB #2325/1

Sen. Sheila Harsdorf (R-River Falls) and Rep. Warren Petryk (R-Eleva) are currently circulating draft legislation to establish this 21st century development program.  Wisconsin Creates will be a program of the Wisconsin Arts Board and will provide funds to for-profit and non-profit businesses and agencies of local government to support:

  • Economic and community development – developing jobs, businesses, and experiences in the creative sector
  • Arts and creativity in education – helping our kids succeed in the 21st century world and workforce
  • Infrastructure and capacity building – supporting creative sector for-profit and non-profit businesses and organizations’ outreach, engagement and education for their audiences.

Click here for more information on Wisconsin Creates.  When this program is established, it will be the first increase to arts funding in Wisconsin in over 20 years.

During the spring, the bill will make its way through the legislative process, with hearings, committee meetings, and community engagement.  There will be many ways to speak up and get support to help get it passed by the Legislature and signed into law by the Governor.  Watch this space for more info.

Stay involved!

Stay involved and in the know about Wisconsin Creates and advocacy for the arts and creativity on all levels:

  • Follow Arts Wisconsin on Facebook and Twitter for timely updates on issues
  • Check Arts Wisconsin’s website, www.artswisconsin.org, for details on specific issues and news
  • Make sure you, your colleagues, and your friends are signed up to receive Arts Wisconsin’s Arts Action Alerts.

Get in touch with Arts Wisconsin at 608 255 8316 or info@artswisconsin.org with questions, comments, and ideas.

Growing 21st century jobs and businesses throughout Wisconsin 

CALL FOR ACTION: The state of Wisconsin should establish a new program, Wisconsin Creates, as a public/private partnership to leverage and grow assets and resources throughout the state, providing:

  • local and regional creative economic development that creates and expands jobs, businesses and income, through downtown development, community revitalization, cultural districts, civic engagement, and cultural tourism programs
  • arts and creativity in education as a pro-active strategy for workforce development, to expand skills training; stimulate creative thinking, idea generation, innovation and inspiration; and enable entrepreneurship – all qualities needed in the 21st century world and workforce.
  • strengthening capacity and entrepreneurship for and in the state’s diverse arts infrastructure.

THE ISSUE: The arts and creativity work for a vibrant, innovative, and successful Wisconsin.  Strengthening Wisconsin’s creative economy is a critical strategy for the state and all of its communities to compete in the global economy, educate our children, engage residents, and to develop, attract and retain entrepreneurs and a high skilled work force through healthy, vibrant communities where people want to live, work, learn, and play.  Wisconsin Creates will help Wisconsin identify, strengthen and expand its creative programs, workforce, and businesses on the local level, leading to sustainable job growth, a growing talent pool, and community vibrancy and vitality.

Wisconsin Creates will develop and support systemic and pro-active strategies necessary to:

  • grow, attract and retain a talented workforce
  • capitalize on local and regional distinctive assets and culture
  • deepen connections among residents, cities, and regions, and regions to global communities and economies
  • foster innovation and entrepreneurial commercial activity to build sustainable economies.

BACKGROUND: Wisconsin is a place where the arts spring from the grassroots, a place where people of all interests, backgrounds, and perspectives, in communities of all sizes, are involved in creative endeavors.  We’ve been that way for a long time, because of the Wisconsin Idea and our progressive traditions.  “The arts” are not something that only some people are involved with or care about.

Where Wisconsin has fallen behind in recent years – dangerously so, since other states are moving forward more rapidly in the creative development arena – is in public investment in the arts and creativity as essential components for economic growth, educational advancement, civic engagement, and vibrant communities.  In our rapidly changing world, where creativity and innovation are key to economic, educational and civic growth and success, and, with such abundant cultural and creative resources throughout the state, that’s unacceptable.    Wisconsin must seize the opportunity to grow its economy with a 21st century development strategy.

KEY POINTS: Investment in the local, regional and statewide creative economy will move Wisconsin forward to advance towards:

  • Jobs and economic vitality: growing and sustaining prosperity.
  • Educational advancement, skills training, and improved academic performance: Preparing all of our children for the 21st century world and workforce.
  • True prosperity and opportunity: Enriching every community and the lives of everyone, everywhere in Wisconsin.

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