tumultuous economic climate, it’s one thing to raid other states in
hopes of luring companies to come to Wisconsin.
thing to do the hard spade work necessary to nurture homegrown talent.
talking the talk about job creation and who is allegedly doing a
better job of it, the Milwaukee Creative Alliance is "walking the
jobs are directly attributed to the arts, the association points out.
Milwaukee region has a plethora of creative assets, including
nonprofit, for profit and individual, which continue to contribute
significantly to the economic viability and development of this
community," says Jill Morin, Alliance board co-chair.
Alliance Milwaukee is an economic development services organization.
Our overarching interest is to create more jobs in southeastern
Wisconsin by linking, leveraging, promoting and growing the creative
industries," agrees Kimberly Rosby, the Alliance’s
In 2008, the
former Cultural Alliance was commissioned by the Greater Milwaukee
Committee to audit the major cultural assets in the region, Rosby
explains. The resulting inventory made clear the Milwaukee region has
outstanding arts and cultural assets — and a fragile infrastructure
to support them, she says.
According to GMC
president Julia Taylor, the health of the arts depends on the vitality
of large and small arts groups and on artists and audiences.
"This broad reach and depth creates a vibrant region, not only
for the quality of life, but in our region’s economic
development," she asserts. The GMC and its membership recognize
that art and culture are big business here, and partners with numerous
groups to strengthen the city’s creative assets, Taylor continues.
Aided by a
consultant and supported by a U.S. Department of Commerce grant, a
report entitled "Creative Industries, A New Economic Growth
Opportunity for the Milwaukee 7 Region" recommended developing a
strategic action plan to connect and grow the area’s creative
sector. To implement those recommendations, the Cultural Alliance
became the Creative Alliance Milwaukee in April 2011. The goal was to
link, leverage, promote and grow this important economic niche, Rosby
possible exception of technology, there is no other economic
development sector that contributes to the overall vibrancy and
strength of a community than the creative industries," asserts
She cites three
itself is significant and growing. In the Milwaukee region, it
accounts for more than $2 billion in annual wages, and 4.2 percent of
all jobs, making it almost as large as the region’s construction
industry and almost three times as large as the water industry.
industries help make other industries such as manufacturing and
finance more creative, innovative, distinct and thus, more successful.
industry adds significantly to Milwaukee’s quality of life and
To help this
process, the Alliance established The Creative Hub, a resource website
(creativealliancemke.org). According to Rosby, one of group’s
members, Bill Finn of Finn Digital, landed a new contract when a
Danish firm learned of Finn’s design capabilities by visiting the
the national recognition we’re receiving for our efforts, we know
that what we’re doing is fairly innovative and unique," Morin
says. "We’re not following some well-defined template. In this
regard, we know that initial understanding and support of our work
will face some skepticism. But the more people, even those in the good
ol’ boy/girl community, hear about what we’re doing and see us in
action, the more support and encouragement we receive. We’re young,
but we know we have a bright future."
a whole lot of movin’ and shakin’ going on in Milwaukee
these days with several advocacy groups pounding the proverbial
pavement to encourage "outside-the-box" growth.
(newaukee.com) is a energetic gang of trendy young professional
pacesetters who clearly love the city and its people. The group
hosts parties, encourages outings and offers plenty of
puts the "i" for "innovation" into the
catch-term "MKE." Design and technology-oriented, the
organization sponsors activities that "foster creativity,
cultivate talent, facilitate connections and seek
opportunities" to increase economic development. It aims to
help start-ups and entrepreneurs create what organizers say will
be the next generation of great Milwaukee companies.
(www.artmilwaukee.com) aims to enrich the community through arts
presentations that are lighthearted and fun, as well as
showcasing the city’s talented New Gen creatives. These range
from sponsoring the painting of outdoor murals to hosting a
musical beach party.
Milwaukee Artist Resource Network (www.artsinmilwaukee.org) is a
grassroots assemblage of dedicated volunteers. They share
equipment, advise on projects and provide a shoulder on which to
cry whenever an empathetic pal is needed.
Milwaukee is an economic development initiative of the
Metropolitan Milwaukee Association of Commerce. Its mission? To
put the Milwaukee Region on the map in a whole new way — by
establishing and positioning the region as a destination for