January 2018 newsletter

Click here for 2018 plans

Wisconsin Creates:  As the voice for the arts throughout Wisconsin, Arts Wisconsin continued to advocate for legislation to establish Wisconsin Creates, an innovative program to grow Wisconsin’s creative economy. Advocates throughout the state stepped up to tell their stories about the arts and creativity at work in their communities, with a great deal of interest from elected officials and visibility throughout the state. Although Wisconsin Creates didn’t become a reality in 2017, we’re gearing up to jump back into advocacy in 2018 with a renewed sense of purpose and energy.  Stay tuned!

Connecting statewide:  As the statewide catalyst for community-based learning and action, Arts Wisconsin is continually growing its work to strengthen networks and leaders guiding community engagement, advocacy and visibility at the local and regional levels. Our intrepid Executive Director traveled the state (and beyond) for site visits and presentations on at conferences and meetings, including statewide Small Community Forums, Wisconsin Presenters Network, Wisconsin Rural Partners, National Arts Strategies, State Arts Action Network, and Americans for the Arts.  She visited (many more than once) Amery, Amherst, Appleton, Ashland, Bayfield, Beloit, Cambridge, Eagle River, Eau Claire, Ellsworth, Gays Mills, Green Bay, Kenosha, Kohler, La Crosse, Land o’Lakes, Madison, Milwaukee, Mineral Point, Neenah, Oconomowoc, Oneida, Osceola, Osseo, Pepin, Platteville, Prairie du Sac, Racine, Reedsburg, Rhinelander, Sauk City, Sheboygan, Solon Springs, St. Croix Falls, Stevens Point, Stockholm, Superior, Trempeleau, Virocqua, Wabeno, Warrens, Washburn, Waupaca, Wausau, Weyauwega, and Whitewater (whew!).

Creative Conversations:  In partnership with local arts and community organizations, Arts Wisconsin presented a series of Creative Conversations in winter and spring 2017.  These meetings connected us with ideas and input to inform Arts Wisconsin’s mission, purpose and agenda for action.  Meetings were held in:

  • Ashland, Monday, January 30, local hosts:  Ashland Area Chamber of Commerce and Chequamegon Bay Arts Council
  • Racine, Wednesday, March 29, co-sponsored by the Racine Business Center, 16th Street Studios, and the Racine Arts Council
  • Eau Claire, Thursday, March 30, co-sponsored by the Eau Claire Regional Arts Center
  • Appleton, Wednesday, April 12, co-sponsored by Creative Appleton Downtown
  • Green Bay, Thursday, June 1, local hosts:  Mosaic Arts, Inc. and the Neville Public Museum
  • Amery, Friday, June 23, at the Northern Lakes Center for the Arts, 113 Elm Street, Amery; cosponsored by the Northern Lakes Center.

Wisconsin Local Arts Conferences (March 7 in Madison and November 29 in Stevens Point): grassroots arts conferences bringing together people who make the arts happen on the local level, to talk – learn – laugh with colleagues making the arts happen on the local level, network with new and old peers and colleagues, keep up to date on what’s happening in the arts and what’s happening in the world that affects the arts, in Wisconsin and beyond, show off what’s happening on the ground around the state; learn about trends, ideas, programs and opportunities; and be inspired for the work ahead!  In March, cultural tourism was a focus of the conversation, and in November, nationally-recognized community arts leader Savannah Barrett of The Art of the Rural spoke about connections through the arts in Stevens Point.

Arts in the Community Awards The ninth annual Arts in the Community Awards, presented in partnership with the League of Wisconsin Municipalities and with generous support from Redevelopment Resources, Vierbicher Associates, and Heid Music.  In October 2017, the awards were presented to:

  • Mark Elliott, Executive Director, Northwest Passage, Webster, WI
    Mark Elliott has led Northwest Passage, which provides innovative residential mental health services to at-risk youth ages 12-17 and their families through innovative mental health services, since 2000.   NWP’s cornerstone therapeutic arts program is In a New Light, using photography as a medium for expression and healing.  Since 2012, photography art by NWP youth has been supported by the National Park Service and other national, state and local funders, and has been exhibited in more than 40 locations locally and nationally.  The In a New Light Gallery in Webster showcases NWP students’ artwork  to the public, giving youth a platform upon which to use their art to rewrite society’s narrative about themselves and other vulnerable youth like them. The gallery has filled a decade-old arts and culture void in the area and is one of only a few art galleries in Burnett County.
  • Stephanie Samarripa, Anti-Graffiti Program Coordinator, City of Milwaukee Department of Neighborhood Services, Milwaukee, WI  
    Since 2012, the City of Milwaukee’s Department of Neighborhood Services has been committed to ensuring that public art is created in neighborhoods with, by, and for the residents of that neighborhood, reclaiming public space through art as sources of pride for residents and the community.  The Department of Neighborhood Services has historically been involved in fighting blight through correction of building code violations.  The outreach beautification efforts leverage building knowledge and community connections to support a multi-faceted outreach section that partners with community groups, artist collectives, and residents to create public art that is reflective of Milwaukee’s rich diversity and heritage.    The most recent public art project, Sherman Park Risingled by artist Tia Richardson, was unveiled at a ribbon-cutting ceremony in September 2017.

The Art$upport Fund:  The Art$upport Fund, an initiative of Arts Wisconsin, strengthens financial resources for small arts organizations and emerging arts initiatives in the Milwaukee area (Milwaukee, Ozaukee, Washington, and Waukesha counties).  The Fund is a legacy of Patricia Wyzbinski of Management Cornerstones and the Nonprofit Management Fund (NMF) and her commitment to small arts organizations and emerging arts initiatives in the greater Milwaukee area. The Art$upport Fund pursues its mission to strengthen the ongoing process in which the arts stimulate the imagination, enrich the economy, educate our children, bring people together, encourage new talent and define community..  Planning began in 2017 for the proposal process, which will continue in 2018 with the first round of support for innovative ideas.

Creative Economy Week:  The second annual Creative Economy Week, May 13-20, 2017, was presented in partnership with the League of Wisconsin Municipalities, with a focus on murals throughout the state.

ArtsPeers Advisory Network– strategic consulting projects with arts, cultural and civic organizations, including a strategic planning process with the city of Waupaca and with the Platteville Arts, Trails and Heritage group.

ARTS WISCONSIN 2018 PLANS:  These times call for creative, positive, pro-active, and vigilant leadership.  Here’s what Arts Wisconsin is planning, watching, working on, and leading for 2018:

Advancing advocacy and public policy: 

  • 2018 will be a big year for Wisconsin and the United States, politically, on the national and state levels. Arts Wisconsin will connect with candidates to educate and inform about the role of the arts.  We’ll continue to lead the way to speak up and work for the arts as an investment for Wisconsin, towards the passage of Wisconsin Creates, an innovative program to grow Wisconsin creatively.
  • Mark your calendars and register today for Arts Day 2018. Arts Wisconsin’s annual legislative day for the arts happens on Wednesday, March 21, at the Overture Center for the Arts, just down State Street from the State Capitol.  It’s Wisconsin’s biggest day for the arts and you don’t want to miss it. We’ve got an impressive list of organizations and businesses already signed up as Arts Day 2018 sponsors.   You can still become an Arts Day 2017 sponsor and get statewide and global visibility for your organization or business.  Sign on as an Arts Day 2018 sponsor.
  • On Arts Day, Arts Wisconsin and the League of Municipalities will release 21st Century Wisconsina report on investment in Wisconsin’s creative economy as 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.

Educating and supporting Wisconsin’s creative sector:

  • Arts Wisconsin will continue to provide much-needed training and technical assistance, information resources, peer mentoring, and capacity building programs, with programs such as the ArtsPeers Advisory Network,  Wisconsin Emerging Arts Leaders Network, and ongoing technical assistance and education on arts, nonprofit, cultural development, arts education, and creative entrepreneurship.
  • Providing local, regional and statewide communication, partnerships, recognition, and facilitation to help expand arts opportunities, strengthen the economy and support civic engagement from the ground up.   We’ll continue our Creative Conversations throughout the state in spring and fall 2018, providing important information, news, and training for civic leaders and people who care about Wisconsin’s future.
  • We’ll continue to strengthen relationships with Wisconsin’s business, governmental, and civic leaders through the annual Arts in the Community Awards and Creative Economy Week presented in partnership with the League of Wisconsin Municipalities, action alerts, an impressive social media presence (over 7,000 FaceBook fans and 4,600+ Twitter fans, and growing every day), and ongoing site visits, consultations, and community meetings around the state.
  • The third annual Creative Economy Week, presented in partnership with the League of Wisconsin Municipalities, May 12-19, 2018.
  • Supporting systemic, accessible integration of the arts and creativity as part of a quality education for all Wisconsin students, as we proceed with expanded advocacy for the arts and creativity in education statewide.



  • Wisconsin Downtown Action Council
  • Wisconsin Presenters Network
  • Americans for the Arts and the State Arts Action Network