Newsmakers, November 9, 2017

Air Date:
Heard On Newsmakers
Bridget Misch, Tracy Gaskin and Jen Roberdeau
Bridget Misch, Tracy Gaskin and Jen Roberdeau Hope Kirwan/WPR

Better participation and cooperation by arts organizations in the city of La Crosse have helped more than triple the economic impact they have according to a recent national survey.

The Arts & Economic Prosperity 5 study shows La Crosse’s arts community contributed $32.7 million to the city’s economy in 2015, and more than 1,100 full-time direct and indirect jobs.

The last time the survey was done five years ago, arts groups in La Crosse accounted for a $9.3 million economic impact and 321 full-time jobs.

“It’s surprising to see what the impact is in La Crosse,” said Jen Roberdeau, interim executive director of the Weber Center for the Performing Arts. “You think of the arts as being sometimes a frill on the side. When you hear that number $33 million, it’s significant revenue generated in the city of La Crosse.”

Roberdeau said attendance at events is strong, and in recent years she’s noticed patrons are attending multiple arts events.

But the study’s numbers also reflect better data gathering and a more engaged arts community. More than 30 La Crosse arts organizations provided data for the current survey, five years ago, only 15 participated.

“A lot of us are working more closely together instead of looking at each other like competitors,” said La Crosse Symphony Orchestra Executive Director Tracy Gaskin. “If we come together, and make this bigger and better, we’re just going to continue to grow.”

The Arts & Economic Prosperity 5 is a national study conducted by Americans for the Arts.

In Wisconsin, the study found the arts had a $657 million impact and created 26,695 jobs in 2015.

Other Wisconsin communities surveyed include:

  • Dane County: $250 million
  • Door County: $24.7 million
  • Eau Claire County: $10.3 million
  • Greater Fox Cities: $58.4 million
  • Green Bay area: $36.3 million

Episode Credits

  • Hope Kirwan Host
  • John Davis Producer
  • Bridget Misch Guest
  • Jen Roberdeau Guest
  • Tracy Gaskin Guest
  • John Nunley Guest
  • David Jaeger Guest
  • Chris Walters Guest