We’re All In Creative Workforce Program


A program of Arts Wisconsin made possible with support
from the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC)

Arts Wisconsin, the state’s community cultural development organization, announces the “We’re All In” Creative Workforce Program, a workforce engagement and development program to put Wisconsin’s creative workers back to work during the COVID-19 pandemic.  Made possible with support from the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) and other public/private funders, the Creative Workforce Program provides a much-needed short-term employment opportunity for self-employed creative workers throughout Wisconsin. 

The program kicked off on October 2 with a live performance in Washburn by the Garland City Consort, hosted by the Chequamegon Bay Arts Council, and continues through the end of the year.

Aligned with WEDC’s We’re All In public health and support initiative, the program connects community development organizations and local government agencies with self-employed creative workers to design and complete cultural and creative projects that advance their communities and highlight civic pride, safety and community.   The Creative Workforce Program capitalizes on the artistry and entrepreneurship of the state’s currently under-employed creative workers to aid in the recovery, unity, and healing of Wisconsin’s economy and communities, large and small. 

Nine Wisconsin communities are currently involved in the program, which is administered by Arts Wisconsin, Wisconsin’s community cultural development organization, in partnership with local organizations and agencies.  This short-term/big-impact investment initiative is a win for individuals, businesses, and communities.

Local cultural agencies are producing cultural and creative projects that advance their communities and highlight civic pride, creativity, safety, and connection and access for all.  Each place is focusing on a specific theme that is relevant and meaningful to that community and its people, in a variety of art and performance mediums.  Artists and performers have been chosen by the host organization, with a focus on employing creative workers who have lost contracts and work because of the pandemic.

“WEDC is pleased to support this initiative because local public art and arts experiences are key to creating a sense of place in a community,” said WEDC Secretary and CEO Missy Hughes.  “It’s equally important to remember that many artists and performers are also small business owners or independent contractors who are facing the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic.  WEDC is committed to both strengthening our Wisconsin communities and helping small businesses thrive.”   

The participating communities, host organizations, and brief descriptions of projects (updated as information comes in) are:

  • Ashland and Bayfield Counties – Chequamegon Bay Arts Council   
    • Garland City Consort concert, 10-2-20, Washburn
  • Eau Claire – Eau Claire Public Arts Council and Pablo Center at the Confluence
  • Green Bay – Mosaic Arts, Inc.  
  • La Crosse – Pump House Regional Arts Center   
  • Madison –  Madison Arts Commission  
  • Milwaukee – Imagine MKE  
  • Portage County – CREATE Portage County  
  • Rhinelander  – Artstart Rhinelander  
  • Virocqua – Virocqua Chamber Main Street

“We greatly appreciate WEDC’s support and investment in Wisconsin’s creative industries and workers through this program,” said Melinda Childs, President of the Board of Directors of Arts Wisconsin. “Before the pandemic, the creative sector provided a $10.1 million economic impact for Wisconsin and a workforce of over 96,000 people  – that’s more jobs than the state’s beer, biotech, and papermaking industries.  We’re glad to be partnering with WEDC to put people back to work.”

At the completion of the project Arts Wisconsin will submit a report on this program to Gov. Evers, the State Legislature, WEDC, and other stake-holders, to provide information on best practices, models, lessons learned, and recommendations for the future.  For more information, contact Anne Katz, 608 255 8316 | akatz@artswisconsin.org