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.

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