The arts are playing an increasingly important role in stimulating the local economies of small towns and rural communities throughout Wisconsin.
Arts Wisconsin Executive Director Anne Katz said while the arts have always been important to Wisconsin’s progressive traditions, communities are now learning to rely on them to generate business.
“Now that we are in a new economy and not a recession anymore, the whole issue of creativity, innovation, entrepreneurship, imagination, all of those attributes are important to the economy and civic life,” Katz said. “And that’s where the arts come in.”
Katz said one-company towns across the state are shedding their shriveled-up industries and reinventing themselves with art to attract new revenue streams through tourism and welcoming new residents.
“So now that we’re in a new creative economy, the whole idea of looking at the assets that a community has and making some money off of them, branding your community, helping all people in that community have a good quality of life — that’s really moving forward,” she said.