Office of Rural Prosperity joins DOA and Tourism Secretaries to highlight importance of creative economy with local arts and culture tour

Prairie du Sac, Sauk City, and Spring Green, Wis. – On Thursday, June 23, Wisconsin Department of Administration (DOA) Secretary-designee Kathy Blumenfeld and Department of Tourism Secretary-designee Anne Sayers met with eight organizations in Southwest Wisconsin to discuss the role of creative organizations and businesses in Wisconsin’s economy and their impact on the pandemic recovery. Governor Tony Evers has made a historic investment for the tourism and entertainment industries totaling over $200 million, the latest of which invested over $20 million to support Tourism Capital Investment statewide.

Joined by Creative Wisconsin director Anne Katz and Jerry Exterovich with Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation’s Office of Rural Prosperity, the Secretaries kicked off the day at Maa Wakacak Studio. The group met with Little Eagle Arts Foundation director and artist Melanie Tallmadge Sainz, who runs the Ho-Chunk arts and cultural organization in Prairie du Sac. The visit also included a tour of the Earth, Water, Sky art project on the Great Sauk Trail, and a discussion on the importance of economic development for Ho-Chunk Nation artists.

“Seeing our unique cultural institutions be brought back to life through targeted support from the State is a wonderful and affirming experience,” said DOA Secretary-designee Kathy Blumenfeld. “Southwest Wisconsin wouldn’t be the same without these organizations, and the Evers Administration is proud to support and protect our incredible arts and culture institutions so they can be enjoyed by both locals and visitors for years to come.”

At the Witwen Park, the Secretaries met with Wormfarm Institute directors Donna Neuwirth and Jay Salinas. A historic gathering place for over 100 years and an agri/cultural creative economy center for Sauk County, the Witwen Park plays a central role in Wormfarm signature event, the Farm/Art DTour, which this year takes place October 1 -10. The visit closed out with a roundtable to discuss the impact of the creative economy and pandemic recovery with local area arts organizations, including the River Arts, Inc., based in Prairie du Sac, the Baraboo-based Al. Ringling Theatre and Circus World, and Reedsburg-based Wormfarm Institute.

“Each of these discussions clearly illustrated the powerful role Wisconsin’s arts and cultural institutions play in the lives of both residents and visitors,” said Tourism Secretary-designee Anne Sayers. “These organizations help enrich our tourism offering by providing entertainment, inspiring creativity and encouraging understanding while driving economic impact. I applaud the resilience, innovation and leadership displayed by the Wisconsin arts and culture community as they put the state’s investment to work to continue to power the creative economy.”

The tour was organized by Create Wisconsin, a statewide network working to promote public-private partnerships, policies and programs that activate and strengthen state and local economies and communities through creative economic development and community cultural development.


[Adapted from: Dept. of Administration: DOA and Tourism Secretaries highlight importance of creative economy in Southwest Wisconsin with local arts and culture tour  June 27, 2022 WISPOLITICS.COM]

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