Learn About Our Agenda


Imagine a Milwaukee where our city’s artists, arts groups, creatives, and everyday citizens use our vision and voice to be leaders in shaping public policy and our civic spaces.


Imagine MKE harnesses and amplifies our collective voice in government.

By harnessing our collective voices, Imagine MKE helps to shape our public conversations, advance investments in the arts, address inequities in access, opportunities, and engagement to improve our communities.

We advocate for Milwaukee arts, artists, and creatives at the local, state and federal levels, representing the combined impact and reach of our city’s institutional arts and culture organizations, neighborhood groups, and individual artists.

While the challenges that face our city and region are complex, we believe that the solutions are within our grasp and consistent with the shared values of creating an inclusive, thriving city. Finding the way to these solutions just require a little bit of vision, creativity, and cooperation, qualities that artists and creatives are uniquely qualified to provide.

Imagine MKE works to ensure that our city’s imaginative and visionary artists, creators, and arts and culture organizations are a part of the answer to create a vibrant, resilient, and generative future facing city. 

We connect artists and arts leaders to get involved in public policy, civic engagement, and the political process, including events, forums, and briefings with our elected officials at the city, county, state, and federal levels.


Our Key Priorities


Our work in public policy is guided by our mission and consistent broadly shared community values and priorities.


Specifically, in Milwaukee, we believe that public arts funding needs to:

  • Align with other community priorities, utilizing arts and culture to address community needs
  • Benefit nonprofit arts and culture organizations and individual artists
  • Increase access to arts and culture for diverse populations;
  • Expose residents and visitors to diverse arts and culture experiences;
  • Support mechanisms to export city’s arts and culture to promote Milwaukee;
  • Support preservation of spaces and an economy that allows artists to live, create, and experiment

We also support the state arts agenda set forth by Arts Wisconsin.

Arts Wisconsin’s Creative Policy and Development Agenda offers a framework for policy actions to raise awareness, and build credibility, support and investment for Wisconsin’s creative economy through six focus areas:

Creative Economy

Positioning growth of creative entrepreneurship, downtown development, quality of life initiatives, and cultural tourism, as well as Wisconsin’s creative industries as strategic state economic development assets and priorities.

Creative Education

A quality arts education curriculum combined with other core subject areas, increases graduation rates and will best prepare our children for the future. As we continue to take steps at every level to revitalize Wisconsin’s economy, it is crucial that we are able to prepare our youth with a broad knowledge base by equipping them with the creative thinking, imaginative, and problem-solving skills that will help fuel innovation in an ever-competitive and evolving workforce.

Creative Placemaking

Shaping vibrant communities and addressing issues of place through the arts, culture and creativity and furthering efforts to attract talent, spur economic development, revitalize neighborhoods, bring people together, offer opportunities to all residents, increase civic engagement, strengthen community connectedness and reframe community narratives.

Talent Attraction

Cultivating a culture of creativity in Wisconsin’s communities that nurtures, attracts and retains talent, especially creative and design talent, entrepreneurs, start-ups and businesses, who spur the housing market, increase tax revenues, attract new business and entrepreneurial ventures and encourage investment.

Trade Missions and Export Opportunities

Engaging the creative industries in trade missions to cultivate economic investment in Wisconsin communities, and positioning Wisconsin’s creative and design industries with the skills, resources and networks to maximize growth in creative export opportunities.

Investment in Wisconsin’s Arts, Culture and Creative Assets

Rebuilding the state’s investment in Wisconsin’s arts, cultural and creative assets and identifying avenues for growth and inclusion.

We support the national agenda from the Americans for the Arts.

Their priorities include:

National Arts Funding

Increase public funding for arts and humanities grants to nonprofit, local and state governmental arts groups across the country by specifically indexing each of the budgets of the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) and National Endowment of the Humanities (NEH) to $1 per capita. Bringing each of their budgets to $327 million per year (currently funded at only $155 million) will help broaden access to the cultural, educational, and economic benefits of the arts and will advance creativity and innovation in communities across the United States.

K-12 Arts Education

Strengthen equitable access to arts education through the Well-Rounded Education provisions of Every Student Succeeds Act and to expand STEM education to STEAM, by including arts education. We also urge the next President to reinstate the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) in the Arts - “The Nation’s Report Card” - as administered by the National Assessment Governing Board

Charitable Tax Policy

Restore and expand the full value and scope of charitable giving tax incentives so that all taxpayers are treated fairly. By enacting an across-the board charitable tax deduction for ALL—not just higher wealth taxpayers who itemize their deductions—individuals at all income levels will be encouraged to make tax-deductible charitable donations to their favorite charities.

CREATE ACT and Artists Corp

Support C.R.E.A.T.E. Act legislation in order to invest in the country’s creative workforce and economy; to recognize artists, entrepreneurs, and nonprofit arts organizations as contributors to the small business community; and to support the creative economy through federal programs and actions, including the creation of an Artists Corps for national service.