Arts Action Alert 5-8-19: speak up for investment in the arts and creativity

May 8, 2019

Right now is a good time to speak up for the arts and creativity in Wisconsin.  A bill currently under consideration in the State Legislature (Senate Bill 82 and Assembly Bill 66) would establish a statewide creative economy development program. The co-sponsors are Sen. Dan Feyen (R-Fond du Lac) and Rep. Joel Kitchens (R-Sturgeon Bay).

The Legislature is considering the 2019-2021 state budget, which was introduced by Gov. Tony Evers in February.  The passing of the state budget is supposed to happen by June 30, 2019.  The process will probably go on for longer than that, but legally, the biennial state budget is to be signed into law by June 30.

Arts Wisconsin is leading advocacy for strategic investment in Wisconsin’s creative economy and we’ve made it easy for you to speak out. Your voice matters! There is nothing that captures the attention of elected officials more than the voter point of view. This means your voice carries a special power that can make a difference.

The creative economy development initiative is all about helping Wisconsin identify, strengthen and expand its impressive creative resources by focusing on local programs, workforce, and businesses, leading to sustainable job growth, a growing talent pool, 21st century education for all students, and community vibrancy and vitality, through:

  • local and regional creative economic development that creates and expands jobs, businesses and income, through downtown and community revitalization, civic engagement, and cultural tourism programs
  • arts and creativity in education as a deliberate and pro-active strategy for workforce development, to expand skills training; stimulate creative thinking, ideas generation, innovation and inspiration; and enable entrepreneurship – all qualities needed in the 21st century world and workforce.
  • strengthening capacity and entrepreneurship for and in the state’s multi-faceted arts and culture infrastructure.
Let your legislators know that investment in the arts and creativity is an investment in Wisconsin’s future.  Send a personalized message to decision-makers in support of Senate Bill 82 and Assembly Bill 66, the creative economy development initiative. Thanks for taking action!  Get in touch with Arts Wisconsin at with questions and comments.
Please use the latest Arts Action Alert in Arts Wisconsin’s Legislative Action Center, or cut-and-paste the text below, to send your message. Don’t forget to personalize your message with examples from your work and your community.


Dear (Name),

Investment in Wisconsin’s creative resources is an investment in Wisconsin’s future.

During the current legislative and budget session, please support Senate Bill 82 and Assembly Bill 66 to establish a statewide creative economy development program. These bills establish a program to help Wisconsin identify, strengthen and expand its impressive creative resources through investment in local programs, workforce, and businesses, leading to sustainable job growth, a growing talent pool, improved educational outcomes for all Wisconsin students, and community vibrancy and vitality.

Creating and sustaining places where people want to live, work and start a family are essential components to move Wisconsin forward competitively in the 21st century. Arts and culture, arts education and the creative industries play an important role in developing vibrant communities, educating and training the 21st century workforce, and building a foundation for growth and lifelong learning.

Our creative assets are critical to the future of our state. Arts, culture and creativity are integral to the Wisconsin Idea and are deeply rooted in our state’s history. Creativity is inherent in every aspect of our daily lives and creativity is a resource that every business and every community need to succeed in the 21st century.

Wisconsin’s creative industries are a vital contributor to our state’s financial strength through job creation, tax revenue, business development and tourism dollars, and to our renowned quality of life in all parts of the state. While many of Wisconsin’s historical industries are in flux, the state’s creative sector is on the rise and includes visual art, theater, music, dance and literature, as well as advertising, architecture, design, fashion, film, publishing, R & D, software, TV and radio and video games to name a few.

Wisconsin’s creative sector is a force for change in my community and throughout the state. Investment in the arts and creativity leverages robust economic growth, a dynamic workforce, educational advancement, civic engagement, and vibrant communities. In our rapidly changing world, creativity and innovation are key to economic, educational and civic growth and success, and, with such abundant cultural and creative resources throughout the state.

In addition:

  • The arts contribute more than $804 billion to the U.S. economy, and over $9.7 billion to Wisconsin’s economy. Data released in March 2019 by the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) and the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) through the Arts and Cultural Production Satellite Account (ACSPA) offers an insightful picture of the impact the commercial and nonprofit creative sector has on the nation’s economy. The sector contributed $804.2 billion or 4.3 percent to the nation’s gross domestic product (GDP) in 2016. For Wisconsin, the impact is $9,749,065,000 and 3.1% of the Wisconsin economy, contributing 94,167 jobs (compared to 31,000 jobs in the papermaking industry and 35,000 jobs in the biotech industry).
  • Arts and Economic Prosperity V: The Wisconsin Arts Board and Americans for the Arts conducted a comprehensive economic impact study of the nonprofit arts and culture industry in Wisconsin in 2016. The study reveals that local nonprofit arts organizations generate $657 million in economic activity annually, resulting in nearly $75 million in local and state tax revenues, 26,695 in full-time equivalent jobs and $555 million in resident income.
  • Wisconsin’s Creative Industries: The Creative Industries: Business & Employment in the Arts report provides a research-based approach to understanding the scope and economic importance of the arts in Wisconsin. The creative industries are composed of arts businesses that range from nonprofit museums, symphonies, and theaters to for-profit film, architecture, and design companies. The most recent figures available for Wisconsin (2017) show that nearly 9,200 arts-related businesses employ over 50,000 people throughout the state.
Wisconsin can lead in the 21st century by investing in the arts, culture, and creativity as integral to 21st century development. This investment is a critical strategy for the state and all of its communities to 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.
Thank you for your support. My contact info is below. Please call on me as a resource for community-based creative sector engagement and opportunities.
(Your name/Contact info)
Arts Action Alerts are a service of Arts Wisconsin, Wisconsin’s community cultural development organization. Please support Arts Wisconsin and help us Arts Wisconsin expand its creative sector advocacy, service and development for everyone, everywhere in the state. Join or renew here. Many thanks!