News & Events

Keep Wisconsin Creative!

The arts unify our country

There’s so much to celebrate when it comes to the arts, culture and creativity throughout Wisconsin, we’re taking a whole month to do it.  April 2021 is Creative Wisconsin Month, presented by Arts Wisconsin, the state’s community cultural development organization, in partnership with people, organizations, and businesses throughout the state.  Creative Wisconsin Month celebrates the diversity and variety of Wisconsin’s creative people and businesses, demonstrates the ways in which creativity revitalizes communities across the state, and shares stories locally and beyond. 

This moment in time calls for creativity and resilience as a means for human expression, processing, and communication.  The intangible impact of the arts is profound.  People and places grow and are transformed by involvement in creative endeavors.  The arts make us human and make community.

In addition, numbers and statistics back up the stories of transformation and show that the creative sector has been a fundamental part of our local and national economies.  According to research released in March 2020 by the U.S. Department of Commerce and the National Endowment for the Arts, Wisconsin’s creative industry packed an economic impact of over $10 billion and has a workforce of over 96,000 people.  That’s more workers than in the state’s beer, biotech and papermaking industries.  Nationally, the economic impact was $877 billion.  These are real businesses and real people, with real impact.  

As the pandemic has gone on, creative businesses and workers have been devastated by the pandemic and economic fallout, while at the same time continuing to move forward with creativity and resilience. According to ongoing research, 63% of creative workers became unemployed because of COVID (10 times the national rate) and 99% of creative businesses have cancelled events, resulting in nearly 490 million lost admissions. According to the Brookings Institution, the creative sector has lost over $150 billion, and research from Johns Hopkins University indicates the arts sector has been hit harder than any other sector by the pandemic.

And, as our nation confronts real, painful issues of racism, division, and senseless violence, we need to come together for community, kindness and justice.  The arts and creativity are a powerful force, inspiring, uniting, and soothing individually and collectively.  

Creative Wisconsin Month will feature a series of sessions discussing the year past and looking to the future, including:

  • Kickoff on Thursday, April 1, with Wisconsin Poet Laureate Dasha Kelly Hamilton
  • All sorts of trainings, panel discussions, workshops, roundtable meetings (and we keep adding more, so check the schedule to see updates), including:
  • Advocacy 101, 102, and beyond – how the budget process works and how to be a successful advocate
  • Young arts leaders – making a life and a career in the arts
  • Downtowns as arts destinations, presented in partnership with Wisconsin Downtown Action Council
  • Artists as creative and community advocates, presented in partnership with Wisconsin Visual Artists
  • State of Arts Funding in Wisconsin, one year later, presented in partnership with the Wisconsin Philanthropy Network
  • Your community can do it too – civic, creative planning for the 21st century.

There are other exciting creative and community events happening throughout April, including:

Thanks to Creative Wisconsin Month sponsors, who make this celebration possible.  For more info on Creative Wisconsin Month and the arts, culture and creativity in Wisconsin, contact Arts Wisconsin, 608 255 8316 | [email protected].  

Written By Anne Katz, Director, Arts Wisconsin

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