21st Century Wisconsin – recommendations for action




Recommendations for Action

These development strategies, applicable to every community from the ground up, use creativity and creative assets to grow and strengthen 21st century economic vitality, education focused on 21st century learning, a vibrant community life, and engaged residents.   

• Focus on a community’s assets – human, financial, social, economic, educational – while addressing issues and challenges, and support an asset-based community
development mindset.

• Support a mindset and programs that welcome a multi-cultural, diverse mix of creative people. A rich and ever-evolving mix of income levels, backgrounds,
and perspectives enlivens every community.

• Recognize that the creative economy contributes significantly to inclusive and sustainable economic, social and environmental development processes.

• Inventory and map local creative economy assets as an ongoing foundation of action planning for development.

• Collect and categorize data and research as an investment in creative economy development policy and programming.

• Prioritize access to the arts for all. Any place can really be recognized for its creativity if that creativity is available for everyone in the community. There must be a diversity of arts opportunities in the community so that everyone can participate in some way, not just those who can afford the price of a ticket.

• Arts integrated into education for all students in the public schools is key and Wisconsin’s 21st century education must be all about STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math). All kids deserve and need the arts in the learning process, to help them express themselves and gain the skills they need to thrive in the 21st century world and workforce. It’s especially important to include the arts and creativity in education in public schools, since school is often the only place many kids get to participate in the arts. Global research and practice show that students with high levels of arts participation outperform other students on virtually every measure from standardized tests to community participation, and that learning through the arts has a significant effect on learning in other areas, particularly
in the early years.

• The arts are not separate from everything else going on in a community. Creative collaborations, imaginative processes, innovative, thinking and entrepreneurship, connecting arts/business, arts/education, arts/environment, arts/recreation, arts/food, arts/civic issues…the arts and creativity can and should be part of every project, program, organization and effort happening locally and beyond. Partnerships do take work – but community involvement and engagement is the only sustainable way to move forward.

• Creative economy growth needs leadership from local elected officials and civic leaders who are visible, pro-active, enthusiastic champions of the arts, encouraging big picture thinking and openness to new ideas and ways of doing.

• Develop opportunities for creative and cultural entrepreneurs in venture capital, business administration, social networking, and marketing activities.

• Recognize the connections between the informal and formal sectors of the creative economy as crucial for the establishment of adequate policy, since the creative economy includes informal cultural systems, processes and institutions.

• Support investment in civic infrastructure – community spaces such as arts centers, museums and libraries enliven a community, and need ongoing investment in programming, organizational and leadership infrastructure. Planning for sufficient and ongoing human, organizational and financial resources is key to making civic spaces come alive and serve their communities.

• Focus on building and sustaining a creative place through a great quality of life for all, one that includes a vibrant street life, arts, food, libraries, parks and other public spaces, local radio stations, museums, bikeways that everyone can enjoy.

For more information, contact Anne Katz, Executive Director, Arts Wisconsin 
608 255 8316 | akatz@artswisconsin.org