Creative Economy Week


Arts Wisconsin and the League of Wisconsin Municipalities are partnering to celebratcreativeeconomyweek-logoe the sixth annual Creative Economy Week, May 15-22, 2021, a week-long celebration of the power, impact and benefits of the arts, creativity and culture in Wisconsin and all of its communities.

In the pandemic era, celebrating Wisconsin’s creativity is more important than ever.  Creativity is essential in and for Wisconsin, in good times and bad.  In fact, creativity and imagination are what’s needed right now to help people and communities make it through in the face of uncertainty and challenges.  The state’s collective, abundant creative energy and spirit must continue to inspire us, challenge us, bring us together, and move us forward.

A vibrant creative economy has existed in every corner of the state.   According to data released in March 2020 by the US Department of Commerce and the National Endowment for the Arts,  the creative sector is a vital component of the US economy.  To sum up the most recent numbers for Wisconsin:

  • $10.1 billion in value-added to the state’s economy through the arts
  • 96,651 jobs in the arts – more than the state’s beer, papermaking and biotech industries
  • $5.8 billion arts worker compensation
  • 3.1% arts’ value-added as a share of state’s economy.

Creative Economy Week showcases and explores artistic and creative endeavors and processes throughout Wisconsin, whatever the circumstances. Right now, while public health guidelines have changed civic participation, engagement in the arts online is growing by leaps and bounds.  For example, in Eau Claire, a coalition of community members, including representatives from the Eau Claire Public Arts Council, City of Eau Claire Economic Development, Downtown Eau Claire Inc., and members of Eau Claire’s creative economy are commemorating Creative Economy Week in a variety of online formats.  More info at

During Creative Economy Week, Arts Wisconsin is promoting its 7 Days of Support campaign to help Wisconsin’s creative sector remain strong to move through the pandemic and beyond.


We’ll also share info about the ongoing shutdown efforts, which have a profound impact on creative businesses and workers, as is the case with all business sectors. According to research from Americans for the Arts, cancellations and closings are taking place at thousands of arts organizations across the country, two-thirds of the nation’s artists are now unemployed, and 12,000 organizations doubt they’ll survive the crisis.

The (negative) economic impact of the pandemic (so far) is $4.98 billion nationally, $18.6 million throughout Wisconsin.  Click here for the latest research on the pandemic’s impact.

In this time of uncertainty, it is critical to recognize the economic and societal contributions of the creative sector locally and beyond, and the creative instinct that is inherent in every person and can’t be stifled no matter how difficult the circumstances.   

The role and impact of creativity in our lives and our communities has never been more important.  Creativity is key to recovery, re-emergence, and revitalization, and investment in that creativity is an investment in the future.

Go to to learn more about Creative Economy Week, Wisconsin’s resilient creative sector, and creative economy development in Wisconsin.

Ways to celebrate:

  • Click here for Ten Ways to Celebrate Creative Economy Week
  • Gather together arts activities and programs in your community during Creative Economy Week.  You don’t have to create new programs…just “bundle” together what’s already going on to promote on social media.  Whatever you do for Creative Economy

    Week is part of the celebration.  Get in touch with Arts Wisconsin at if you want to brainstorm about ideas and opportunities.

Here’s how we celebrated previous Creative Economy Weeks:

Information, action planning, and research on the creative economy

  • Click here for resources, information, data and research about the creative economy in Wisconsin and beyond.
  • Click here for specific ideas on civic engagement through the arts, or, how to answer the question, “what can our community do to grow its creative economy?”
  • Defining the “creative economy” is an evolving process, but the simplest way is to describe it is the intersection of the creative workforce, creative industries and creative communities.  Click here for definitions of the creative economy from around the world. What can you and communities actually DO to grow the creative economy, enhance quality of life, educate our kids, and keep our communities vibrant?”
  • Click here for some great infographics and data from the National Endowment for the Arts on arts participation, civic engagement throughout the arts, and the economic value of the arts.

Highlights of Creative Economy Week 2017:  

Highlights of Creative Economy Week 2016:

  • Communities throughout the state proclaimed Creative Economy Week for their cities, villages and towns.  Click here for Creative Economy Week proclamations and resolutions.
  • We asked Wisconsin’s Poet Laureate, Kimberly Blaeser, and other poets from across the state, to share their poetry about community and communities.  Read the poetry here.
  • Anne Katz of Arts Wisconsin and Gail Sumi of the League of Wisconsin Municipalities spoke about Creative Economy Week on Wisconsin Public Radio’s “Central Time” on April 26.  Listen here!
  • Arts Wisconsin’s social media platforms – Facebook, Twitter and Instagram – highlighted the impact of the creative economy movement and the success it has had across the state and across the nation.
  • Here were ten ways to celebrate Creative Economy Week!

Whether it be in community cultural development, arts education, or tourism, the arts and creativity play a role in in the lives of everyone, everywhere in Wisconsin.   Celebrate!