JUST LOOK: Eau Claire's Creative Economy Week Events

Tom Giffey, photos by Andrea Paulseth

It should come as no surprise to anyone who has watched the cultural renaissance in Eau Claire over the past decade that the arts aren’t the icing on the economic cake: In fact, around here they’re more akin to economic meat and potatoes. And it’s this growing realization that Creative Economic Week (May 13-20) is meant to celebrate and amplify.

Locally, the week will be marked with panel discussions, the launch of a new professional organization for designers, a walking tour of downtown art galleries, and much more, including musical and theatrical performances.

Eau Claire is one of a number of Wisconsin communities taking part in the second annual Creative Economy Week. Locally, the week will be marked with panel discussions, the launch of a new professional organization for designers, a walking tour of downtown art galleries, and much more, including musical and theatrical performances.

“During Creative Economy Week we’ll shine a spotlight on the strong and growing arts and culture economy in Eau Claire and the Chippewa Valley,” said Mike Schatz, executive director of Downtown Eau Claire Inc. and the city’s economic development director. “We want to recognize the efforts and importance of the creative class workers that add to the quality of life we enjoy in Eau Claire.”

The week is the brainchild of Arts Wisconsin, a statewide arts advocacy group based in Madison, and the League of Wisconsin Municipalities, which represents cities and villages across the state. The week was established to highlight the major impact the arts have on our lives – and our pocketbooks.

So what exactly is the “creative economy”? Arts Wisconsin defines it as “the intersection of the creative workforce, creative industries, and creative communities.” And the creative economy a bigger swathe of the entire economy than you might think. The arts encompasses everything nonprofit museums and symphonies to for-profit photography, architecture, and graphic design businesses. According to a study recently released by the National Endowment for the Arts, more than 91,000 people work in the arts and cultural industries in Wisconsin, earning $5.2 billion annually. Nationwide, the arts and culture sector contributed more than $730 billion to the American economy. That’s a whole lot of creativity!

Here’s a rundown of the Creative Economy Week events in Eau Claire. Full details here.

Saturday, May 13

3-5pm: State of our Creative Economy (kickoff event), The Lakely, 516 Galloway St.

6pm-midnight: The Brewing Projekt’s Two Year Anniversary, The Brewing Projekt, 2000 N. Oxford Ave.

7-9pm: Boats & Bridges CD Release Show, Volume One Gallery, 205 N. Dewey St.

Monday, May 15

6-8pm: State of Our Visual Art & Design (conversation and networking), Artisan Forge Studios, 1106 Mondovi Road.

7-8:30pm: State of Our Literature (conversation and music), The Gallery at The Oxbow, 516 Galloway St.

7-10pm: Monday Jazz Sessions hosted by Michael Shults & Jeremy Boettcher, The Lakely, 516 Galloway St.

Tuesday, May 16

6-8pm: State of Our Theatre (conversation), The Plus, 208 S. Barstow St.

7-8:30pm: Writing for Exposure: Why Writers Need to Get Paid for Communities to Flourish (And How to Do That) (panel discussion), Volume One Gallery, 205 N. Dewey St.

Wednesday, May 17

8:30-9:30am: How to Become a Full-Time Maker (panel), Red's Mercantile, 224 N. Dewey St.

6-7pm: “Sounds Like Home” Public Input Session, Chippewa Valley Museum, Carson Park.

7-9pm: Dairyland Designers Association Kickoff Event, The Gallery at The Oxbow, 516 Galloway St.

Thursday, May 18

4-8pm: Downtown Eau Claire Gallery Walk, North and South Barstow street districts.

7-9pm: Songwriters in the Round, Volume One Gallery, 205 N. Dewey St.

8:30-10:30pm: Clear Water Comedy Presents Emma Arnold, The Plus, 208 S. Barstow St.

Friday, May 19

6-8pm: Book Release & Reading: Transnational/Turn, Volume One Gallery, 205 N. Dewey St.

7-9pm: Twig Issue III Release Party, Forage 930 Galloway St.

7:30-9:30pm: BareBones Ensemble Theatre: Two Plays by Harold Pinter, The Grand Theatre, 102 W. Grand Ave.

Saturday, May 20

7-8:30pm: Steve Szydel Performance: Re-release of Fairchild, Volume One Galley, 205 N. Dewey St.

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