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Invest in the Arts and Creativity, Invest in Wisconsin’s Future: Guest Post by Anne Katz

Anne Katz is the Executive Director of Arts Wisconsin. After reading my last post about Arts Spending in Wisconsin, she asked if she could write a guest post offering action items and resources for people in the state looking for ways to advocate for the arts. Here is her post. Thanks for your advocacy, Anne!


I greatly appreciated Jenie’s first blog post last week on Rethinking the Arts,” calling for a paradigm shift in attitudes and actions concerning investment in the arts and creativity throughout the state, and look forward to the next two blog posts on the topic. She’s generously allowed me to add a few more ideas and actions to the conversation, in my role as Director of Arts Wisconsin, the state’s leading organization advocating for community cultural development, creative placemaking and investment in the arts and creativity.

As Jenie notes in her post, it’s critical to take action as an individual. And, it’s important to be involved in statewide efforts to change the system and moving Wisconsin forward. There is strength in numbers. I encourage everyone reading this blog post to get involved in Arts Wisconsin’s efforts.

Click here for Arts Wisconsin’s latest Arts Action Alert and the Arts Wisconsin’s 2018 Election Resource Center for voting information, responses to our Legislative Candidate Survey on creative sector investment and development, and more. Your voice and your vote matter!

What’s at stake?

  • Wisconsin’s future depends on economic vitality; education for the 21st century; healthy, vibrant communities; entrepreneurship, innovation, and creativity; and a good quality of life for all. The arts, creativity, and culture are a critical component of the state’s efforts to diversify and grow a thriving 21st century economy.  There is amazing creativity, innovation, imagination and entrepreneurship around the state, an explosion of initiatives harnessing that creativity, and a growing understanding among local and state decision-makers that creative investment and development is the future. This kind of systemic change and seismic shift is slow, and not linear or smooth, but it’s happening.
  • Arts Wisconsin is advocating for legislation and policies to increase the state’s investment in the arts and creativity, through grassroots efforts and strategic lobbying. Public funding for the arts, arts education, and creative economy in Wisconsin must increase if Wisconsin is going to lead as a 21st century powerhouse. The Wisconsin Arts Board is known as the main avenue for state public funding. There’s also the Department of Tourism and Department of Public Instruction; the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation; and the UW, tech college and public school systems, as public funding streams. All of these state funding sources can and should leverage local public and private support.

 What can you do? What resources are there?

  • Right now, most importantly, VOTE on Tuesday, November 6.  The polls are open throughout Wisconsin 7 am – 8 pm. Many local cab services–such as Union Cab in Madison–are offering free rides to the polls on November 6.
  • Ask your State Senate and/or State Assembly candidate to complete Arts Wisconsin’s Legislative Candidate SurveySee which Senate and Assembly candidates have responded to the survey so far and which ones we’re still waiting for a response from. 
  • Write an oped to your local media or a social media blog post (or both!) to share stories and data about the power of the arts and creativity in your community.
  • Arts Wisconsin’s Election Resource Center gives you information about the arts and elections, including the continually updated results of our Legislative Candidate Survey about creative economy support.
  • Advocacy is hard, so don’t do it alone. Join creative colleagues at the Wisconsin Creative Summit in Wausau on December 10 and Arts Day in Madison on Tuesday, March 12, where people who care about Wisconsin’s future will come together to speak up for action!
  • Want to do more? We’d love to hear from you with questions, comments and ideas. Get in touch at 608 255 8316 or Many thanks for your good work and community spirit.

Cover image of watercolor by Jenie Gao.

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