Wisconsin Arts Day and the Creative Economy
Yesterday I had the pleasure of participating in the opening festivities for Wisconsin Arts Day in Madison. This year's theme, "art is not a frill," reflects the sober seriousness of our state's creative coalition and their efforts to protect a very delicate growth industry in Wisconsin. Jobs in the creative economy - in graphic arts, acting, film-making and others - are not lifetime-secure employment. They are frequently short-term, project-based opportunities that draw on the skills and passion of Wisconsinites.
In order to keep our creative economy alive, and especially if we aim to grow it for future generations, Wisconsin needs to foster creativity and lure those projects to our state.
The Wisconsin Film Bill did just that. Since it was was enacted in 2007, the film bill has been attracting creative jobs into our state. While direct job creation was a big success, the projects we attracted also boosted business for our hotels, caterers, and other sectors. If you asked me how I judge the success of economic policy, I'd ask you if we created jobs and boosted commerce as a result. In this case, we did both. Yet somehow the Governor's budget would railroad the film bill and future opportunities it would create. Governor Doyle's backward-looking effort, as you can imagine, has been met by confusion and outright disappointment.
During my brief remarks to attendees at Wisconsin Arts Day it really hit me. The people who are counting on us to foster these opportunities aren't Hollywood producers or big-name stars (contrary to the Doyle Administration's wrong-headed assertions). The people who are counting on us live in Waukesha and Green Bay and Sheboygan. Unless we keep Wisconsin a friendly place to do business, our creative coalition will watch opportunities pass right by on their way someplace else. So will our small business owners. Rest assured, I'm not going to let those people down.
I noticed today that a theatrical trailer has been released for the new Johnny Depp film "Public Enemies." Congratulations to all the Wisconsinites involved in the making and support of that film. Your creativity and hard work are a real tribute to our state.