Wisconsin ranked 47th in arts spending

Eric Koeppel

Notice which side of the state line the enormous money bag is on. GET IT?
Notice which side of the state line the enormous money bag is on.

According to the State Art Agency Legislative Appropriations Preview, Fiscal Year 2014 (download PDF) from the National Assembly of State Arts Agencies (NASAA), Wisconsin is ranked 47 in the nation in per capita support of its state arts agency.

The NASAA report shows that Minnesota ranks number one in not just the Midwest but in the entire nation with $6.36 per capita funding. Wisconsin, on the other hand, is ranked last in the Midwest at 13 cents per capita funding.

Although the news is not too surprising, it's a wake up call to Wisconsin’s politicians and creative thinkers. Wisconsin’s Poet Laureate (and Eau Claire native) Max Garland said it best: “I need someone to tell me how I’m supposed to hide from my students the fact that they live in a state that supports the arts at 13 cents per capita, but that they can drive a little more than an hour and be in a state that supports the arts at $6.36 per capita.”  

With the 2014 NASAA figures, it seems like as the creativity grows, the funding shrinks for Wisconsinites. Thankfully our state’s Arts Board is continuing to fight the good fight for more support for the arts, but there is still a long way to go until our funding is even close to comparable to that of our neighbors to the west.