Eau Claire’s Creative Economy Week is Now a Month
May has been set aside to highlight the economic impact of the arts
Like the creative economy itself, Creative Economy Week has grown. In fact, it’s no longer a week: This year in Eau Claire, the entirety of May has been designated Creative Economy Month.
It’s an expansive move that reflects the expansive art community of the Chippewa Valley, which is beginning to emerge from the pandemic with a host of events highlighting all that the arts have to offer, from silk painting to pasta making and even the unveiling of a big new public sculpture.
Creative Economy Week was founded five years ago by Arts Wisconsin and the League of Wisconsin Municipalities, who describe it as a “celebration of the power, impact, and benefit of the arts, creativity, and culture in Wisconsin and all of its communities.”
The overall point is that the arts don’t just feed the soul: They can feed the bottom line of businesses and communities. According to a 2020 study by the U.S. Department of Commerce and the National Endowment for the Arts, the creative sector adds $10.1 billion to Wisconsin’s economy annually and is responsible for nearly 97,000 jobs in the state – more than the iconic brewing industry.
The beautiful thing about the creative economy is it means different things to different people.
DOWNTOWN EAU CLAIRE INC.
“The beautiful thing about the creative economy is it means different things to different people,” said Sarah Larsen, a business and communications specialist with Downtown Eau Claire Inc. “It’s really just celebrating the artists and creators we have here. (The creative economy) just gives Eau Claire that vibe we all talk about.”
Downtown Eau Claire Inc. is among of the local partners who have planned Creative Economy Month, a group that also includes the Eau Claire Pubic Arts Council, Visit Eau Claire, Forage, Artisan Forge Studios, Pablo Management, and Pablo Center at the Confluence.
Organizers said this year that a week seemed too little time to highlight all that the arts have to offer Eau Claire.
“We are excited to celebrate the important contributions that all artists make to our community during the Creative Economy Month of May,” said Jo Ellen Burke, chair of the Eau Claire Public Arts Council. “The arts help to promote true prosperity. They are fundamental to our humanity and foster creativity, goodness, and beauty. The arts provide a space for the conversations and experiences that connect people and create the unique sense of place we have here in Eau Claire.”
The month will kick off on the weekend of May 1-2 at Artisan Forge Studios, 1106 Mondovi Road, with the arrival of the “Scraposaurs” traveling exhibit. A month-month Gallery Window Walk will bring art from seven galleries into the windows of 26 businesses around town. Installation of the latest set of sculptures for the Sculpture Tour Eau Claire will begin the week of May 17, and on May 29 a new permanent sculpture will be unveiled in Haymarket Plaza: a 16-foot work titled “Eddies” by San Francisco sculptor Michael Szabo.
But if you miss any of these events, don’t worry: There are dozens of other creative endeavors to be explored during the month of May around town. Visit artfulleauclaire.com for a full calendar.