Joint Finance Committee hearings testimony on the arts and creative economy – 2013

It’s state budget season, and Arts Wisconsin has been hard at work helping advocates across the state tell their stories to decision-makers.
Our goal is to increase Wisconsin’s investment in the creative economy, a path that other states are traveling with great success. Wisconsin has creative assets – people, organizations, businesses and communities – galore and the time is right for this kind of investment.  Our message is that it’s time to put creativity to work for Wisconsin.  Strengthening Wisconsin’s creative economy is a critically important component of Wisconsin’s strategy to develop business opportunities and create jobs.While our neighboring states are moving forward with investment in creative infrastructure and endeavors,Wisconsin is falling far behind when it comes to this kind of economic sector investment.
To increase our effectiveness, Arts Wisconsin has made the commitment to contract with former State Senator Mary Panzer for strategic lobbying assistance as we navigate the political waters during budget season.  Arts Day, on March 13, kicked off the advocacy season with several hundred advocates gathered in Madison. In April, Arts Wisconsin organized testimony at each one of the four public hearings of the Joint Finance Committee – Greendale, Green Bay, Wisconsin Rapids, and Baldwin – which provided the opportunity to make a public statement about the need for this kind of investment.

Our testifiers at the hearings included arts organization directors and board members, arts entrepreneurs, mayors, businesspeople, and economic development directors – all working in and for the arts on the local level.  We advised these leaders on talking points and the finer points of speaking before elected officials.  The testimony was powerful and the legislators paid attention.

Our testimony included a musical performance by students from the Northern Lakes School of the Arts in Amery.  A musical performance is a very rare occurrence at this kind of legislative hearing.

These are the people who testified on behalf of Wisconsin’s creative economy:

  • Maggie Christenson, Issac Gorres, and Amy Johnson, students, Northern Lakes School of the Arts, Amery
  • Lisa England, writer, Flipeleven Creative, Milwaukee
  • Alan Erickson, Mayor, City of Menomonie
  • Amy Hanson, Director, Downtown Fond du Lac
  • Dan Keegan, Director, Milwaukee Art Museum
  • LaMoine MacLaughlin, Director, Northern Lakes Center for the Arts, Amery
  • Dave Meier, Director, American Folklore Theatre, Fish Creek
  • Kevin Miller, Director, Windhover Center for the Arts, Fond du Lac
  • Joe Moore, City Manager, Fond du Lac
  • Alan Nugent, President, Widespot Performing Arts Center, Stockholm
  • Danette Olsen, Director, Festival Theatre, St. Croix Falls
  • Joel Peck, City Administrator, City of St. Croix Falls
  • Tina Quigley, Director, Mosaic Arts, Green Bay
  • Jay Salinas, Co-Director, Wormfarm Institute, Reedsburg
  • Brian Schupper, Director of Public Policy, Greater Milwaukee Committee
  • Mary Anne Collins Swoboda, Board member, Widespot Performing Arts Center, Stockholm
  • Laurie Winters, Director, Museum of Wisconsin Art, West Bend

Here’s a run-down of testimony and newspaper articles/blog posts/testimony and messages at the JFC hearings and beyond:

What’s next?  We are aiming for legislation establishing a fund for creative economy investment throughout Wisconsin.  Stay tuned.