Public input sought on arts, downtown development
By Angie Landsverk
Sponsored by the Waupaca Community Arts Board, the city of Waupaca and the Waupaca Area Chamber of Commerce, the summit will be held from 3-8 p.m. Thursday, March 10, at Waupaca Ale House.
“It an opportunity to provide citizen input into how the arts can revitalize the downtown,” said Brennan Kane, the city’s development director.
He said there is a strong artist coalition here. Arts summits were held in Waupaca in the past.
The arts board asked the city if it was interested in participating in this latest one.
Kane said the summit falls in line with a number of efforts already completed or underway in the city.
Those efforts include the strategic plan for economic development, which was completed in 2014, and the downtown vision plan, which was adopted last May.
Now, the city is embarking on a master plan and Main Street redevelopment plan, with a market study planned as well, he said.
“When we did the downtown (vision) plan, we talked a lot about placemaking,” Kane said.
Placemaking is about creating public spaces based on a community’s assets, inspirations and potential.
From an economic development standpoint, the city looks at how to fill vacant spaces.
The arts summit will look at how the various arts-related groups in the area may work together to enhance Waupaca’s downtown.
Kane said the summit will offer the opportunity to exchange ideas and collaborate.
Community members interested in attending the summit may register online at http://www.waupacaareachamber.org/?post_type=event&p=8552 or by visiting the chamber or calling it at 715-259-7343.
The registration fee includes materials and dinner.
The early bird registration fee is $15. The fee is $20 after Feb. 15.
Kane said the program will include several success stories related to how collaboration worked in other places.
The plan is to follow those stories with a panel discussion.
Dr. Beverly Crane will be the summit’s keynote speaker.
Her topic will be “What is creative collaboration, and how do we make it happen?”
There will also be nine action groups from which to choose.
• Creating a MakerSpace.
• Innovative Ideas for Vacant Storefronts.
• Use and Preservation of Historic Buildings.
• Aesthetic Enhancement of Waupaca’s Downtown and the Larger Community.
• Building A Vibrant Waupaca Creative Economy.
• Revitalizing the Community through Creative Arts Policies.
• Community Groups in Collaboration.
• Discovering Our Unique Identity – Rebranding our Community.
• Youth and the Arts.
Kane said attendees will be able to choose a minimum of two sessions to attend.
Each session will last 30 minutes and include a mediator.
“We’re hoping to have groups of 15 to 20 in these action groups,” he said.
He describes Waupaca as a “stand-alone community sandwiched between Stevens Point and Appleton.”
Kane said it is the right time for an arts summit.
It will allow the city to see how the ideas fit in with the initiatives the city started in the last year, related to downtown.
“The sessions will really generate ideas, an in-depth, hands-on look at the resources available in Waupaca,” Kane said. “It will offer a wide perspective when you look at it, how we can collectively grow together for the future.”