Seal of Dane County County of Dane
County Executive's Office

“Make, Do”: County Initiates Effort To Boost Local Arts Scene, Economy By Matching Artists With Space To Create

June 12, 2012
Casey Slaughter Becker, Office of the County Executive 608.267.8823 or cell, 608.843.8858
County Executive

A new project, “Make, Do,” aimed at connecting the county’s creative professionals and hobbyists with the space they need to create, rehearse, and produce their work is now underway, Dane County Executive Joe Parisi announced today.


“Make, Do” seeks to leverage the potential of arts and culture industries, grow the creative economy, and inventory communities’ cultural assets.  The program builds upon findings in the City of Madison’s Cultural Plan, which identified lack of workspace as one of the greatest needs.  At the same time, underused or vacant commercial, retail, and industrial space suitable for art workspace is available throughout the county with an untapped potential for the reuse of a variety of structures, from storefronts to barns.


“Arts and culture contributes greatly to the county’s diverse economy and a lack of creative space for artists slows this important sector’s growth,” said Parisi.  “Whether you’re an artist looking for studio space, a musician looking for band rehearsal space, or the owner of a vacant warehouse you’re trying to rent, we want to help.” 


Research from around the United States has documented that attraction and retention of creative artistic talent is a key component to economic development in the twenty-first century.  With world class venues and artisans, the arts generate over $100 million in economic activity annually in Dane County.


The first phase of “Make, Do,” is participating of artists, property owners, and municipalities in an online survey.  Based on the results, the county hopes to match artists of all kinds who are looking for workspace with those who have the space to rent.  The surveys will use online technology to reach three target groups: artists and creative professionals; landowners with suitable buildings; and municipal officials.


Interested individuals are encouraged to visit take a moment to answer the appropriate survey.  Surveys will be accepted until Friday, August, 10, 2012.


Following the survey phase, the county will host a workshop to share survey results, brainstorm ideas to overcome identified obstacles, and provide networking opportunities for artists, landlords, municipal officials, and others interested in creative endeavors.  A final report will summarize results, make policy recommendations and establish ongoing networking and collaborative opportunities.


Individuals who are interested in participating in the project or learning more can contact either:

Brian Standing, Senior Planner:; (608)267-4115 or

Pam Andros, Senior Planner:; (608) 261-9780

Room 116, City County Building Madison, WI 53703.


Every comprehensive plan in Dane county contains goals and objectives related to economic development, infill development, redevelopment, adaptive reuse, mixed use development, and similar strategies for revitalizing communities.  Redevelopment or reuse for artist workspace fits within all of these goals. 


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