At the grant presentation, arts in Wisconsin took center stage. State officials are spending the week promoting cultural tourism. That's the idea behind a statewide push to raise awareness of art and culture that's unique to Wisconsin.
Lieutenant Governor Barbara Lawton and tourism secretary Jim Holperin are touring the state this week to get the message out.
"We need to be part of an education of the public that the arts are central to a solid, public education that without it we won't develop the kind of citizens that we need."
Tourism is a $12 billion industry in Wisconsin, but promoting art and culture as reasons to visit the state is a fairly new concept. In the past, much of the emphasis on tourism in Wisconsin focused on the weather, from the leaves changing in the fall to great skiing in the winter. But as this past winter proved, weather is not always reliable.
"So we need to promote the arts and we need to promote cultural attractions so that people who travel to the state and through the state understand that there is so much to do.
Holperin points to the Leigh Yawkey Woodson Art Museum as an example.
"Many of the facilities are well-known locally but they may not be known to people from Milwaukee or traveling to or through Wausau, for example."
Something these state officials hope to change soon so that our cultural resources can become just as popular as our natural resources.