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Creative Economy Task Force
In 2011 the Village assembled a task force to develop and propose a strategic plan for the Creative Economy Initiative (CEI). Comprised of a broad range of representatives from across the community, the task force included members of the Waunakee Community School District, the Waunakee Area Chamber of Commerce and the Waunakee Economic Development Commission as well as local artists, businesses, and residents devoted to enhancing Waunakee's profile as a creative and innovative place.

In November 2017, the Village Board approved the establishment of a new task force to help guide the Village into the next phase of the CEI. This task force will pursue the creation of a new entity to encourage and implement creative economy projects, businesses, and services across Waunakee. 

To assist with this undertaking, the Village engaged a student consulting group from the Bolz Center for Arts Administration at UW-Madison. The consulting team will support the task force by conducting case study and other research, facilitating discussions and community conversations, and partnering with task force members to design mechanisms to set the new entity up for success. 

Results from the Bolz Center Consulting Team's Work
As part of their original charge, the Bolz Center and task force were asked to research, design, and propose an entity that would champion the CEI going forward. This request stemmed from the 2013 Creative Economy Initiative Strategic Plan, which stipulated a long-term goal of establishing and building a positive reputation for a creative venue in Waunakee.

On April 30, 2018, at the Waunakee Innovation Center, the Bolz Center consulting team presented its final recommendations to the CEI task force. The team's recommendations included a series of strategies to take the CEI from a "Village Initiative" to a "Community Initiative" in the next three years.

Learn more about the Bolz Center's recommendations by reviewing some of the team's key final deliverables, which are linked below with brief descriptions.

2018-2020 Strategic Action
2018-2020 CEI Strategic Action Plan

This document provides an overview of five primary strategies recommended by the Bolz Center to continue moving the CEI forward. These includes:

  • Establishing a position outside of the Village umbrella to coordinate and lead CEI efforts.
  • Creating partnerships with and gaining buy-in from key stakeholder groups, including a fiscal sponsorship to incubate the new position.
  • Identifying and secure funding for sustainable growth.
  • Building upon existing and creating new activities and opportunities for community participation.
  • Enhancing and increasing capacity for marketing and communication.

"From a Village Initiative to a Community Initiative" Flow Chart
From a Village Initiative to a Community Initiative Flow Chart

How did the Bolz consulting team arrive at these strategies? These diagrams outline how these key steps can lead the community to a successful and sustainable organization focused on growing the area's creative vitality and quality of life for community members new and old. 

Revised CEI Mission Statement
In March 2018, the consulting team conducted a visioning exercise with the CEI task force to inform a revised mission statement for the initiative. The team asked the task force to think about who the CEI would serve, what it would do, and what the result of its efforts would be.

From that exercise, the Bolz Center team distilled the information and crafted the following revised statement:

To inspire, connect, and unite current and future community members in showcasing and building upon what makes Waunakee a unique and vibrant place to live, work, and visit. Central to this mission are:

  • Celebrating creativity, innovation, and the arts
  • Creating a common identity that fosters community pride
  • Bringing together artists/creators, business owners, entrepreneurs, students, families, visitors, and others, to pursue this mission and serve as a resource at the intersection of their needs

Final Presentation to the Village Board of Trustees
This links to the final presentation that the Bolz Center team delivered to the Village Board of Trustees on May 7, 2018. In addition to information about final recommendations, this presentation provides a brief overview of the first two phases of the team's consulting engagement with the Village. 

Waunakee Creative Economy Initiative 2.0 Video
Take a deeper dive into the Bolz Center's research and community findings by watching this video presentation that project leads Jaron Bernstein and Sarah Bluvas recorded. 

Where do we go next?
Over the next couple of months, the Village will select strategies and actions to focus on, continue to engage key stakeholders, and build partnerships with organizations and individuals to continue developing the CEI. 

If you're interested in participating with the next phase of this work, reach out to us! We hope that this process has renewed energy for the CEI and encourage new community members to get involved.

Contact Information
Todd Schmidt, Waunakee Village Administrator / Economic Development Director

Telephone: (608) 850-5227