all about the arts, culture, creativity and community
throughout Wisconsin
August 10, 2020

Dear  ,

Last Friday, the Wisconsin Policy Forum released a report entitled Arts and Culture in a Pandemic:  An Existential Threat.  This report paints a stark picture of the scenario ahead for the state's local and regional creative sector, if pro-active public and private investment in creative businesses and workers isn't available in the short- and long-term.  Read more about the report:
Before the effects of the coronavirus pandemic took hold throughout the state and the country, Wisconsin's creative sector provided a robust $10.1 billion economic benefit and employed over 96,000 people (more jobs than the state's beer, biotech, and papermaking industries), according to the U.S. Department of Commerce.  This sector of the economy has now been particularly hard-hit because of shutdowns and cancellations of almost all live events in the state, and, the likelihood that these live events won't really come back until there is widespread treatment or a vaccine.

The negative economic impact of the pandemic on for-profit and non-profit creative businesses in Wisconsin is currently over $34 million, and nationally, it's over $8.5 billion, according to Americans for the Arts.  Over ⅔ of the state's creative workforce is now unemployed and these performers, artists, and other creative workers have no prospects for work in their profession for the foreseeable future.   

We're living through difficult time, and creativity is more essential than ever.  Arts Wisconsin and many partners are working as hard as possible to keep Wisconsin's creative economy strong, through the pandemic and beyond.   Read below about Arts Wisconsin's advocacy efforts and what you can do, right now.

Thanks for your good work and keep in touch..

Anne Katz, Director
Arts Wisconsin
608 255 8316 

Advocacy and Action for the creative sector
The U.S. Congress and the Administration are currently debating the next phase of COVID relief, a process filled with personalities and politics.  As the recent Wisconsin Policy Forum report on the state of the creative sector demonstrates, we all know that cultural organizations, programs, and workers need further  support of all kinds, to survive through the pandemic.     

Arts Wisconsin has been advocating full blast with Wisconsin's Congressional delegation; this message has been endorsed (so far) by over 225 Wisconsin arts businesses (your business can still sign on, see instructions below). We are also working closely with the national network of state advocacy organizations, Americans for the Arts, and field specific advocacy groups to advance the national creative sector policy agenda. 

These are our Creative Sector Policy Agenda priorities for investment:
  • additional Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) funding
  • extension of enhanced unemployment benefits 
  • substantial funding for National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), and Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS)
  • federal assistance in offsetting state and local revenue shortfalls 
  • funding a robust testing and contact tracing program for the safety of audiences, participants, and employees
  • strengthening broadband to reach everyone, everywhere in Wisconsin - especially important for virtual learning as the school year begins
  • incentives for charitable donations.
Here's how you can take action:
Create the Vote Wisconsin 
It's election season in Wisconsin and everywhere.  The right to vote is an essential component of our democratic society.  Please plan to vote:  
Downtown Eau Claire
  • TOMORROW, Tuesday, August 11:  Legislative (State Senate and State Assembly) partisan primary.  Polls are open in Wisconsin 7 am - 8 pm.
  • Tuesday, November 3:  Presidential and Legislative general election.
The Democratic and Republic National Conventions will be streaming online later this month, and campaigns will be ramping up locally and nationally.  Throughout this election season, we'll share resources to help you be an informed and active voter:
  • Create the Vote Wisconsin:   a nonpartisan campaign to raise awareness and s
    upport for arts, culture + creativity among voters  and candidates
  • Go to for info on elections and voting , including your voter registration status and location, the slate  of candidates in your district, and how to request an absentee ballot for the November 3 election.  
Listening sessions and other online conversations
Coming up this week:
  • Thursday, August 13, 11 am-12 noon:  Thursdays with AARP Wisconsin:  The Arts
     and Livable Communities - Anne Katz, Executive Director, Arts Wisconsin.  Watch live at AARP Wisconsin's Facebook page.
  • Friday, August 14, 9-10 am:  Listening sessions with Arts Wisconsin and the Wisconsin Arts Board.  Arts Wisconsin and the Wisconsin Arts Board host Zoom listening sessions every other Friday at 9 am for anyone and everyone who's interested to share
     perspectives on the impact of the pandemic on work and life, and brainstorm recommendations on actions to take locally and globally.    To participate: 
Support Arts Wisconsin to keep Wisconsin's creativity strong
The role and impact of creativity in our lives and our communities has never been more importan
t, in the age of coronavirus, economic troubles, and much-needed societal change.  That's where Arts Wisconsin comes in.  Please make a tax-deductible donation so we can continue to do this work for Wisconsin, its people, and its communities.

As a member-driven, grassroots advocacy and service organization, our supporters are indispensable to our success.  We advocate and work together for creative opportunities and creative ways to address the critical issues of our time, to benefit everyone, everywhere in the state.   

Please join us in these efforts, at  Together, we can keep Wisconsin's arts and creative economy strong.  Many thanks!

Stay safe and promote your cause

Special thanks to Milwaukee artist Emily Judge and her company, The Letter Em, for designing and creating a face mask featuring the Arts Wisconsin logo, providing safety for our staff and visibility for our cause at the same time.  Pretty cool, huh? Go to to order an Arts Wisconsin mask (Emily has our logo on file, so indicate your logo choice on the order form), or, a mask that promotes your own good cause.  
Action Alerts are an important service of Arts Wisconsin as Wisconsin's community cultural development and advocacy organization.  Please help us continue these Action Alerts and our advocacy, service, and development work help keep Wisconsin's creative economy strong now and into the future, 

Thanks to Arts Wisconsin members, sponsors, and donors.  We are able to do our work with your support!
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