Embracing Innovation: The Creative Economy as a Catalyst for Growth

[Monroe, June 19, 2024] – Creativity plays a significant role in economic transformation. Rural communities have unique challenges that benefit from shared ideas, networking, and learning from one another. The recent Creative Economy Summit held in Monroe connected a diverse group from southwest Wisconsin to address economic development from a different perspective.

Hosted at the Monroe Arts Center, Create Wisconsin, Green County Development Corporation (GCDC), Lafayette County Economic Development Corporation, and Prosperity Southwest teamed up to sponsor a the summit aimed at generating ideas and conversation for economic development strategies in our communities.

Anne Katz, Executive Director of Create Wisconsin shared that Wisconsin’s creative sector, comprised of over 35 key arts and culture industries, contributed $11.9 billion to the Wisconsin economy, and employed over 89,000 workers. She pointed out the social impact that innovation and creativity have on our economy and how it builds a climate for businesses to succeed.

“A creative economy is not just about art and culture; it encompasses a wide array of sectors from technology and design to entertainment and beyond,” said Olivia Otte, GCDC Executive Director. “Partnering with others to share and create new ideas and solutions can be transformative for rural economies.”

Local leaders, entrepreneurs, artists, elected officials, community groups,  educators and others interested in discussing creative solutions and opportunities to help our region thrive came together for a morning of creative discussion and action planning. The consensus of the group was that collaboration and sharing of ideas to support one another in growing southwest Wisconsin in unique and diverse ways makes all our communities better.

“The summit aimed to establish a platform fostering bold ideas, experimentation, and empowerment for entrepreneurs, creators, and innovators. By cultivating an environment where creativity flourishes, we ultimately cultivate thriving communities.” Lafayette County Economic Development and Tourism Director, Allison Taylor said.

Understanding the expansive nature of the Creative Economy helps us all recognize that the impact of the creative economy extends far beyond economic metrics; it enriches societies, empowers individuals, and inspires progress.