Creative Economy Week op-ed

PLEASE PERSONALIZE THIS OP-ED with stories and examples from your community.  Cut and paste to use it in a variety of ways – as a letter to the editor, blogpost, social media posting, or message to elected officials.  And remember to send it to Arts Wisconsin ( so we have it on file.  Thanks for your good advocacy.

In these rapidly changing times, creativity, innovation, imagination and entrepreneurship are the hallmarks of the new economy, in Wisconsin and around the world.    That means that investment in the arts and creativity is critical to economic, educational and civic success.

Arts Wisconsin and the League of Wisconsin Municipalities are celebrating the fourth annual Creative Economy Week, May 11-18, to show off the power, impact and benefits of the arts, creativity and culture in Wisconsin and all of its communities.  We’ll celebrate with government proclamations, a focus on Wisconsin’s museums, and events.

Here are just a few reasons why investment in the arts, creativity and education is critically important to Wisconsin’s local and statewide success:

  • Arts and cultural experiences account for a significant number of small businesses that help stimulate the economy through tourism and neighborhood development, as well as creating community assets that improve quality of life measures that businesses and their employee’s value. This in turn helps to incubate and grow additional businesses, broadens the tax base, and attracts tourists.
  • The nonprofit arts and cultural sector in Wisconsin generates $637 million in economic activity, $65 million in local and state revenue, $479 million in resident income. Creative development is evident and growing in your district and every corner of the state.
  • According to Dun & Bradstreet, Wisconsin’s creative sector currently encompasses over 9,500 businesses and employs nearly 44,000 people in full-time jobs – mostly with small, entrepreneurial for profit and nonprofit companies. There’s great potential for growth in sustainable, community-based jobs and businesses in this sector.
  • The U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) and the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) have recently determined that $804 billion of current-dollar GDP in 2012 was attributable to arts and culture. The Arts and Cultural Production Satellite Account is the first federal effort to provide in-depth analysis of the arts and cultural sector’s contributions to current-dollar gross domestic product (GDP) as a measure of the final dollar value of all goods and services produced in the United States.

To succeed in the creative economy takes a sense of common purpose and goals, persistence, planning combined with flexibility, big-picture thinking, a can-do attitude, and the ability to admit and learn from challenges and celebrate big and small successes.  Communities need to focus on coordinated, pro-active development strategies that capitalize on and invest in community assets for pathways to growth and stability.

Investment in the arts and creativity is Wisconsin’s ticket to economic, educational and civic success in the 21st century.   Let’s celebrate Wisconsin’s creative economy during Creative Economy Week and every week.  We’re living in a time full of opportunity. Wisconsin has all the assets it needs to succeed in the 21st century economy.  Increasing our focus on creative economy development will help Wisconsin’s communities 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.

Go to to learn more about creative economy development in Wisconsin.