The Good Life
survey aims to measure our cultural landscape
“There’s nothing going on here.” How often have you heard those words uttered, or perhaps said them yourself, about the Chippewa Valley’s cultural scene? Chippewa Valley Museum director Susan McLeod wanted to re-evaluate what it is that makes certain members of the community adamant that Eau Claire is a cultural void. Is it a matter of interests, affordability, accessibility, language barriers, or communication gaps that lead people to feel like their cultural needs aren’t being met?
McLeod’s quest for cultural understanding began when she took part in the Clear Vision project sponsored by the city and county of Eau Claire several years ago. Clear Vision sought to create a 25-year plan and framework for the area. While the plan included sections for parks and recreation, architectural visions, and transportation planning, it had little to say about the future of our cultural landscape.
“We felt like there wasn’t a collective voice speaking for Eau Claire’s culture,” McLeod says. So she and a team of other organizations with a stake in our community joined forces to create the Good Life Project, so named because the group feels that Eau Claire’s cultural offerings, more so than its infrastructure, most contribute to a good life for its residents.
The Good Life Project is funded through a grant to the Chippewa Valley Museum by the Institution of Museum and Library Services, and inspired in part by plans from cities and neighborhoods across the nation that have attempted similar long-range cultural planning.
The first step of the project was unveiled in mid-June, with an online and mail survey available to Eau Claire county residents. The survey aims to gather an understanding of how the community currently views cultural availabilities in the region.