Event Success Inspires Artists, Arts Groups, Educators, Politicians and Business Leaders to Create “Blueprint for Action"

by Anne Katz

Over 300 Madisonians gathered at the Monona Terrace Community and Convention Center on Tuesday, September 23, to discuss the future of the arts in Madison and Dane County. The first-ever Summit drove home the message that connecting the arts, creativity, and the community will benefit our region’s economy, education, and quality of life.

Keynote speaker Harriet Sanford, President of the Arts & Science Council of Charlotte/Mecklenburg, Inc. in North Carolina, noted that everyone in a community benefits from inclusiveness and access to the arts, and that the individual artist is at the root of all artistic endeavors.  Mayor Dave Cieslewicz challenged arts groups, educators, politicians and business leaders to dedicate their efforts to shape a collective vision that will fully use the region’s outstanding artistic, cultural and creative resources.

Enthusiastic and productive roundtable discussions on various aspects of the role of the arts in the community gave Summit participants the chance to express their ideas for future possibilities and directions.

Exciting performances by the Suzuki Strings of Madison, Jin-Wen Yu Dance Company, and the Youngblood Brass Band enlivened the event.  Over 30 Madison-area artists created original artworks that were displayed on the tables during the Summit, adding an authentic artistic component to the proceedings.

The next step in the process is a ArtGrowth “Blueprint for Action,” in order to assess what is already in place, what needs implementing and the steps necessary to use the arts to make Madison an even greater place than it already is.

The Summit was presented in partnership by the city’s leading organizations concerned with community health and well-being:  Madison CitiARTS Commission, Greater Madison Convention and Visitors Bureau, Greater Madison Chamber of Commerce, Downtown Madison, Inc., City of Madison Economic Development Commission, the Office of UW-Madison Chancellor John Wiley, UW-Madison Arts Institute, Accelerate Madison, Madison Artists Alliance, and Madison Gas and Electric; and the Wisconsin Assembly for Local Arts. 

Additional support was provided by the Pleasant T. Rowland Foundation, Hilton Madison Monona Terrace, Good for Business, Inc., The Widget Source, Inc., Funnel Incorporated and Econoprint. 

For updates and more information, contact the Wisconsin Assembly for Local Arts, 608 255 8316, akatz@wisconsinarts.org or visit www.wisconsinarts.org.

Related Website: www.wisconsinarts.org/