Last week, Gov. Tony Evers presented his 2021 – 2023 Executive Biennial Budget to the Legislature and the people of Wisconsin.  The budget proposal lays out economic, workforce and community development plans to invest in small businesses, workforce development initiatives, and venture capital programs to jumpstart innovation and entrepreneurship.

These investments will strengthen Wisconsin’s creative businesses and support independent creative workers in every corner of the state.  The arts and creativity provide a means for human expression, processing the unknown, and communicating across cultures. And, according to the U.S. Department of Commerce, the creative industries have leveraged more than $10.1 billion to Wisconsin’s economy and employed over 96,000 of its residents (more jobs than in the state’s beer, biotech, and papermaking industries).  These investments will help this sector, one of the hardest-hit by the pandemic, come back with a flourish to rebuild and revitalize Wisconsin jobs, businesses, and communities.

Attracting public and private investment in creativity and in the state’s creative resources is a critical strategy for the state, its people, and its communities to:

  • encourage and create 21st century entrepreneurship, jobs and businesses

  • support local economies and grow the state’s tax base

  • compete regionally and in the global economy

  • educate our children for the 21st century world and workforce

  • ensure healthy, vibrant downtowns and communities

  • connect all Wisconsinites to arts, cultural and creative opportunities

  • making a good quality of life for everyone, everywhere in the state.

To make the most of Wisconsin’s creative assets, Arts Wisconsin commends these initiatives and priorities proposed in the 2021-2023 budget:

  • Nearly $30 million in programmatic funding to spur small business development, entrepreneurship, and workforce development through the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC). Independent cultural workers and many creative businesses in our state should be eligible for these programs as a significant part of the small business sector in our communities.

  • Investment in creative economic, workforce, and community development through the Creative Economy Development Initiative, and tools for the Wisconsin Arts Board to ensure that Wisconsin can use all of the federal match funding available for creative programs and services.

  • Increased support for the Wisconsin Department of Tourism to grow promotion of Wisconsin as a business, cultural and recreational tourism destination.

  • Additional tools for local governments to ask voters to diversify revenue streams that support local services.  More local revenue will help to fund a variety of constituent services, including arts, arts education, creative business development, and quality of life initiatives for all.

Arts Wisconsin President Tom Targos notes, “We all support making Wisconsin a better place to live, raise our families, and grow our businesses.  These initiatives help achieve these goals while also creating jobs and growing our tax base – which goes back to our communities in the form of more money for our schools, roads, and community projects.”

As the state budget process continues, Arts Wisconsin looks forward to working with the state’s elected representatives to advance initiatives that support creative economy development.

For more information on Wisconsin’s creative sector, contact Arts Wisconsin, 608 255 8316 |

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