The Village of Waunakee is taking a next step in its creative economy initiative with the formation of a task force with members who will engage the community about what a creative economy could mean for them.

Waunakee embarked on its creative economy initiative around 2011, as village officials sought to discover existing sources of creativity and innovation, a memo to the village board notes.

The village organized an Imagination Celebration event, bringing artists, performers and other creative types to exhibit their work at the high school.

Other initiatives since have included the summer public art projects such as the Trains on Main, the Creative Wall at the Hall, the Chalk Walk and the mural on Waunakee Furniture ETC’s building.

The village is now contracting with the UW Madison’s Bolz Center MBA students to further the initiative.

Sarah Bluvas, a second year MBA student, is working with the village. Bluvas talked to the board Monday about the creative sector, which also includes architects, graphic designers, marketing professionals, journalists and others engaged in creative work.

Cities large and small are working on such initiatives, Bluvas said, to create vibrant, livable and inspiring places.

“How do we continue the growth and make Waunakee a place where people want to live and play?” Bluvas asked.

The task force will work to create an initiative independent from the village and make it sustainable.

“We will do research and have community discussions to think about what this next phase will look like,” Bluvas said.

The task force nominees are as follows: Kathy Bartling, President of FWPA, and former music and teacher with the Waunakee Community SD; Jennifer Cuccia, local artist; Brian Gardner, Co-Owner of Gather, a creative studio and guest house in downtown Waunakee; Tracy Grade, Owner of Glass Catfish, a local art gallery and studio; Julee Helt, Waunakee Village Clerk; Steve Plank, Principal of Middleton High School; Kristin Runge, Community Development Specialist with UW-Extension; Jan Tweed, Director of the Waunakee Community Band; Jeff Willauer, Engineering and Technology teacher with Waunakee High School and Head of the FAB Lab/Innovation Center.

Also at Monday’s meeting the board:

-heard Village Administrator Todd Schmidt’s state of the village presentation.

-met in closed session to discuss the purchase or sale of property in the Waunakee Business Park.

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