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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