Talking points: putting creativity to work for Wisconsin

It’s time to put creativity to work for Wisconsin.  Increased investment in Wisconsin-based creative people, organizations, businesses and communities should be a priority for the state starting right now.  Strengthening Wisconsin’s creative economy is a critically important component of Wisconsin’s strategy to:

  • diversify its funding base
  • compete in the global economy
  • educate its children
  • engage residents
  • revitalize healthy, vibrant communities where people want to live, work, learn and play.

Wisconsin needs to invest in the arts and creativity to:

  • invest in local and regional projects and programs that create jobs and income
  • revitalize downtowns and communities overall
  • draw cultural tourists by leveraging the assets of the creative sector – artists, cultural organizations, and arts-related businesses – inherent in Wisconsin’s communities to generate real income.
  • expand partnerships and initiatives to provide programs and services that Wisconsin citizens value
  • meet  local, state and regional development’s demand for expertise in growing and strengthening the state’s creative jobs and businesses
  • foster and promote arts and creativity in education as a deliberate strategy for workforce development, stimulating creativity, innovation and inspiration, and enabling entrepreneurship.

Other states are moving forward with investment in creative infrastructure and endeavors.  Wisconsin is woefully behind when it comes to this kind of 21st century economic sector investment.  Here’s where Wisconsin stands with Midwestern neighbors in per-capita funding of the arts:

State

Per-capita
amount

Ranking

Illinois

$0.63

29

Iowa

$0.37

40

Michigan

$0.62

31

Minnesota

$6.36

1

Wisconsin

$0.13

48

 

 

 

 

Per capita amounts represent the total dollar figure for each agency’s appropriation divided by the total population. Click here for full info.  Source:  National Assembly of State Arts Agencies, 2012.

Investment in the arts is critical to Wisconsin’s success because it will create:

Jobs and economic vitality: growing and sustaining prosperity.

  • Wisconsin’s nonprofit arts and cultural sector is a $535 million industry, resulting in nearly $65 million in local and state tax revenues, 22,872 in full-time equivalent jobs and $479 million in resident income (source:  Americans for the Arts and Wisconsin Arts Board).
  • According to Dun & Bradstreet, Wisconsin’s creative sector encompasses over 12,000 businesses and employs nearly 50,000 people in full-time jobs – mostly with small, entrepreneurial companies.
  • Communities thrive and grow through investment in the arts.  Arts involvement and infrastructure increases the capacity of small towns, rural areas, suburbs and cities to attract and retain businesses, residents and visitors, improve quality of life and broaden the tax base.

Healthy communities and engaged residents: Building better places to live, learn, work, play.

  • Stimulate economic, community and neighborhood development
  • Make our cities and towns attractive and vibrant places to live and work
  • Attract tourists and out-of-town visitors
  • Educate our children to succeed in school and beyond
  • Beautify our neighborhoods
  • Provide important social and creative outlets for all residents
  • Bring people of diverse backgrounds together in productive and cooperative ways.

Educational advancement and improved academic performance: Preparing our children for the 21st century world and workforce.

  • Research from around the world proves that arts education and the integration of creativity in the academic process is proven to keep students in school, increase high school graduation rates and prepare students for college and for the careers of the 21st century economy.
  • The fundamental and permanent shifts in local and global economies require workers who are highly disciplined, entrepreneurial, collaborative, innovative, imaginative, creative and focused. These are the traits the arts teach.
  • The Wisconsin Arts Board and other state agencies support arts education, outreach and engagement programs in every corner of the state.

True prosperity and opportunity: Enriching everyone, everywhere in Wisconsin.

  • Wisconsin residents value the arts for themselves, their children and their communities.
  • People who are involved in the arts are also more civically engaged – they volunteer and they vote.
  • State funding leverages a great deal of local and private funding.
  • The arts significantly increase the return on Wisconsin’s investment in education by addressing issues such as workforce development and childhood poverty and health, while broadening the tax base statewide.

The arts create and sustain a vibrant, innovative, and successful Wisconsin.