2019 review and 2020 preview

Click here for 2020 plans



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 the League of Wisconsin Municipalities, statewide Small Community Forums, Wisconsin Presenters Network, Wisconsin Rural Partners, State Arts Action Network, and Americans for the Arts.  She visited (many more than once) Adams, Alma, Appleton, Ashland, Baraboo, Bayfield, Crivitz, Eagle River, Eau Claire, Green Bay, Independence, Janesville, Kenosha, La Crosse, Land ‘o Lakes, Madison, Manitowoc, Marinette, Milwaukee, Mineral Point, Monroe, Mt. Pleasant, Nekoosa, Pardeeville, Pewaukee, Platteville, Pleasant Prairie, River Falls, Sheboygan, Siren, Stevens Point, Stockholm, Stoughton, Trempeleau, Washburn, Waunakee, Wausau, Webster, Wisconsin Dells, and Wisconsin Rapids

Wisconsin Creative Summits, Tuesday, March 11 in Madison and Wednesday, December 11 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!  The 2019 Summit featured the Creative Placemaking Institute in March and a day on public art in December.

Arts in the Community Awards The tenth annual Arts in the Community Awards, presented in partnership with the League of Wisconsin Municipalities and with generous support from Redevelopment Resources, Vierbicher AssociatesBigRentz.com, and Heid Music.  The 2019 awards, presented on October 24, 2019, in Green Bay, were presented to:

      • Mayor Brendan Pratt of the City of Altoona, WI, who has been an enthusiastic champion of the arts as a means for civic engagement, placemaking, and community investment, including the design, development and programming of River Prairie Park and related development in public art works for the city. 
      • Waupaca Cultural Plan, a community-based public-private partnership:  The City of Waupaca, Waupaca Area Chamber of Commerce, and Waupaca Community Arts Board,along with many other individuals and organizations, have partnered on a deeply collaborative public-private partnership to intentionally grow and build capacity for a strong arts presence in the every-day lives of all Waupaca residents, focused on:
      • historic and heritage celebration and preservation
      • collaboration and connectedness through the arts and community
      • creativity and vision for the city’s future
      • improving quality of life through the arts, culture and creativity.

    The plan’s four goals – the arts as a community resource and as a family resource, the arts and quality of life, and connecting, strengthening and building bridges between the arts and business, education, government, civic issues, and residents – provide a roadmap for long-term, sustainable arts and cultural development and community based cultural planning and engagement.

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$upport Fund pursues its mission to strengthen the ongoing process in which the arts stimulate the imagination, enrich the economy, educate our children, bring people together, encourage new talent and define community.  In 2019, the Art$upport Fund supported fee-for-service technical assistance for Ex Fabula and fundraising training and assistance for True Skool.

The fourth annual Creative Economy Week took place May 12-19, presented in partnership with the League of Wisconsin Municipalities.  Creative Economy Week happened in conjunction with Wisconsin Museums Week, May 11-18, Milwaukee Museum Mile Day on Sunday, May 12, and International Museums Day 2019Armed Forces Day, and Wisconsin’s annual Downtown Open House on Saturday, May 19.

ArtsPeers Advisory Network– strategic consulting projects with arts, cultural and civic organizations and agencies, including strategic planning with organizations and municipalities.  Planning, visioning and implementation projects, concerning downtown revitalization, strategic planning, and visioning with organizations, groups, and municipalities, included the Beloit-Janesville Symphony Orchestra, arts leaders in Stoughton, COPA in Fitchburg, the City of Wisconsin Rapids, and the Villages of Mt. Pleasant and Pleasant Prairie.

ARTS WISCONSIN 2020 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 2020

Advancing advocacy and public policy: 

  • 2020 will be an exciting and interesting (to say the least) year for Wisconsin and the United States, politically, on the national and state levels. With important elections throughout the year and the focus on Wisconsin in the political arena, Arts Wisconsin will connect with and continue to lead the way with decision-makers to educate and inform about the impact, benefits and value of the arts and creativity for Wisconsin. Click here for 2020 Election Resources for the Creative Sector, and here for Arts Wisconsin’s 2020 Creative Economy Policy Agenda, a framework for advocacy and promotion throughout the year and beyond.
  • Registration is now open for Creative Wisconsin Day 2020, Wisconsin’s day to celebrate and speak up for the arts, culture, community, and creativity, in every corner of the state, on Thursday, April 16, 2020 at the Overture Center for the Arts in downtown Madison.Creative Wisconsin Day celebrates the diversity and variety of Wisconsin’s entrepreneurial creative sector, demonstrates the ways in which creativity revitalizes communities across the state, and shares those stories with representatives and decision-makers.We’ve changed the name from Arts Day to Creative Wisconsin Day to reflect the growing importance of creativity as THE resource for the 21st century, in every corner of the state.  Arts Wisconsin is all about strengthening a creative Wisconsin – a state where investment in creativity is the pathway to economic vitality, education for the 21st century, vibrant communities, and engaged residents.We’re especially pleased to welcome our keynote speaker, Nina Ozlu Tunceli, Chief Counsel of Government and Public Affairs at Americans for the Arts and Executive Director of the Americans for the Arts Action Fund.Thanks to organizations and businesses already signed on as Creative Wisconsin Day 2020 sponsors.   Sign on as a Creative Wisconsin Day 2020 sponsor and get statewide and global visibility for your organization or business.

Educating and supporting creative opportunities and potential throughout Wisconsin:

  • 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 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 and advocacy briefings throughout the state in 2020, providing important information, news, and training for arts and civic leaders and people who care about Wisconsin’s future.  Coming up on Monday, January 27:  Advocacy and action for the creative economy in 2020, at the Northern Great Lakes Visitors Center in Ashland.
  • Make Music Wisconsin:  Mark your calendars for Sunday, June 21, 2020
    an Annual Global Celebration of Music, happening in your community!  Make Music Day began in France in 1982 as the Fête de la Musique, and has spread to over 1,000 cities across 120 countries. Completely different from a typical musical festival, Make Music Day concerts are performed by anyone who wants to take part and enjoyed by everyone who wants to attend. From classical to folk, hip hop to opera, Latin jazz to punk rock, live music of all kinds resounds on streets, sidewalks, porches, plazas, parks, gardens, store fronts and other public spaces on the longest day of the year.Right now, nine Wisconsin communities are part of Make Music Wisconsin:  Appleton, Fitchburg, Green Bay, Kenosha, Land o’Lakes, Madison, Milwaukee, Platteville, Reedsburg,  and Verona.  Arts Wisconsin encourages communities throughout the state to be part of Make Music Wisconsin, happening across Wisconsin on Sunday, June 21, 2020.  Visit MakeMusicDay.org to learn more and for more information about signing up for Make Music Wisconsin 2020, contact Arts Wisconsin at info@artswisconsin.org | (608) 255-8316.

  • 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, a growing partnership with the Wisconsin Counties Association, action alerts, an impressive social media presence (over 10,000 FaceBook fans and 4,800+ Twitter fans, and growing every day), and ongoing site visits, consultations, and community meetings around the state.
  • The fourth annual Creative Economy Week, presented in partnership with the League of Wisconsin Municipalities, will happen May 9-16, 2020.
  • 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.


  • 2019 PARTNERS:  ongoing connections, consultations and programming partnerships with statewide and national organizations, including:

    • Americans for the Arts
    • Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago
    • Leadership Wisconsin
    • League of Wisconsin Municipalities
    • Local Government Institute of Wisconsin
    • State Arts Action Network
    • USDA Rural Development Wisconsin
    • UW Madison/Extension
    • Tourism Federation of Wisconsin
    • Wisconsin Association of Convention and Visitors Bureaus
    • Wisconsin Counties Association
    • Wisconsin Designer Craft Council
    • Wisconsin Downtown Action Council
    • Wisconsin Early Childhood Association
    • Wisconsin Economic Development Association
    • Wisconsin Main Street Program
    • Wisconsin Partners
    • Wisconsin Partners in Arts Education (statewide arts education orgs)
    • Wisconsin Rural Partners
    • Wisconsin Towns Association
    • Wisconsin Visual Artists
    • Wisconsin Arts Board


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