Creativity Works! Moving Forward

Wednesday night was the sold-out Creativity Works! Moving Forward event at the Harley-Davidson Museum. This event, whose purpose was to unveil the results of, and to raise funds for, the Milwaukee Regional Creative Industries Project. This was a joint project of the Cultural Alliance of Greater Milwaukee and the Greater Milwaukee Committee, aimed at tying the economic success of a region to its creative health. Certainly it’s a correlation we all believe in, but according to the U.S. Dept of Commerce, hard to pin down.

To sum it up: this is a very inspiring effort by hundreds of talented and influential people in our region to re-invigorate the “creative industries” here. And what’s more: we’re the only city in the Midwest doing it.

The focus of the evening’s festivities was the presentation by Mt Auburn, the 25-year-old economic development and strategy firm that was contracted to conduct research and recommendations for the project. Their timeline was January – December 2010. Download the executive summary as a PDF here, and download the full, 100-page report here.

So what has been AIGA Wisconsin’s role in all of this? AIGA Wisconsin has been involved in the study from the very start, in the person of Amy Decker, our President, who spent many hours in meetings and sessions while the study was being conducted. Additionally, AIGA Wisconsin was a table host at last night’s event, eager to demonstrate our enthusiasm and leadership (both financially and visibly) among the city’s creative elite.

The design profession–in all its forms, whether graphic design, industrial design, or landscape design, to name a few–is frequently included in the study, and actually cited as a unique economic segment.

(Compare this to the Strategic Plan Framework of the NEA, for example, in which the word “design” does not even appear. To read AIGA’s Executive Director Rick Grefe’s open letter on this topic, click here.)

This is good news for all of us, as it appears that our city is committed to promoting the economic health of Design, as well as the other cultural and creative segments, in a variety of tactics. But there’s still so much to do…

What should our response be?

Post by Stacey Williams-Ng

By AIGA Wisconsin
Published January 21, 2011
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