Advocates of the arts convene Wednesday in the capital city to lobby lawmakers for Arts Day 2008 at the Monona Terrace.
"It's hard to define 'the arts,'" says Anne Katz, Executive Director of Arts Wisconsin , "Art is whatever you want it to be."
"What we talk about is creativity, that everyone has the capacity to be creative. Whether you are an 'artist' or not and everyone has a way to express themselves, and the arts are part of what make people human. So the more you have the ability to see things in an artistic way, the more creative you are."
Katz says the arts are important to Wisconsin's economic, educational, and civic future and our social infrastructure.
"There are lots of studies out there that show that the arts help kids learn better in schools; they help people develop critical thinking skills; they help people think outside their own realm of … their own part of the world."
Katz says it's important to make an investment in the arts in order to be competitive in the global economy. The Wisconsin Arts Board is asking the legislature for an additional 56-cents a person, bringing the total state funding from 44-cents to a dollar per capita, in order to get the competitive advantage.
Katz says all kinds of people who have the ability to think creatively are involved in the arts, even though that might not necessarily be their profession. She cited Wisconsin's own James Thomson, who isolated the human embryonic stem cell, and US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, who is also a classically trained pianist. Katz says millions of people with experience in the arts go on to be scientists, doctors, dentists, stock brokers … and maybe even radio reporters.
NOTE: Wisconsin ranks between 45-and-50th in the nation for state spending on the arts at only 44 cents per person, while our neighboring Minnesota ranks number 9 in spending at $1.67 per person.