Arts and culture organizations contribute significantly to our quality of life and economic development in Milwaukee County. The arts create jobs and generate revenue for local government. Budgets of County-funded arts organizations exceed $46.5 million, with more than 1 million people attending programs and productions each year. The economic impact of Milwaukee's arts organizations is identified as more than $122 million. Through performances, outreach and educational activities, artists and arts organizations serve all segments of the population, including disadvantaged, disabled and elderly individuals and many children. The importance of this program to the economic and cultural well-being of our community cannot be overemphasized.
The Milwaukee County Board of Supervisors has annually appropriated property tax funds to support and encourage cultural and artistic activities in this community. The Board's longstanding financial commitment to the arts is based on the belief that such activities have an important impact on the economic well being and quality of life of the community.
To assist in its oversight of this important area of County funding, the County Board has established the Milwaukee County Cultural, Artistic and Musical Programming Advisory Council (CAMPAC), as an advisory council. The primary purpose of the Council is to advise the Board on how best to allocate budgeted county funds for the arts through grants and contracts for services for the provision of cultural programs that best serve and enhance the quality of life in the community.
The CAMPAC program is unique in that it provides funds to organizations for operations. This allows the groups to spend their time on the quality of productions and enhancing outreach to underserved audiences. As an economic generator, the arts industry provides a double impact for investors such as the County. Unlike other industries, arts organizations stimulate the economy through their own direct spending as well as through the spending of the audiences they attract at shops, restaurants, hotels, parking and other amenities.
How We Make a Difference
The Matching Grants Program provides sustaining or operating support to eligible professional, nonprofit arts organizations located and working in Milwaukee County. Funding is based on the organization's overall budget size.
Community Cultural Events
The Community Cultural Events Program is established to provide public access to cultural events to a broad range of the County's residents, including those whose financial resources are limited, who live in more restrictive settings, or who are otherwise limited by reason of age or disability. Grants are awarded to eligible organizations that emphasize outreach to underserved communities in their primary mission.
How to Apply for Funding
In 2020, CAMPAC administration was transitioned to the Milwaukee County Parks Department. Milwaukee County Parks is conducting a review of the program and will issue guidance on how to apply for funding after budget appropriations are made by the County Board in November. Please continue to check this website for additional updates.
The purpose of the County Arts Program, as provided in the County Board resolution establishing CAMPAC, is to serve as a public sector source of support for various cultural, artistic and musical organizations and individuals providing a variety of artistic genres and styles designed to reach a broad range of the County's residents, including those of different economic, social, ethnic, racial, age and neighborhood backgrounds.
The program has the following objectives:
- To provide support for arts organizations in order to improve their financial stability, encourage the development of other resources, enhance management capacity and achieve or sustain growth in the artistic quality of their programs
- To assure broad public access to a full range of artistic genres for all County residents, particularly those whose financial resources are limited, who live in more restricted settings, or who are otherwise limited by reason of age or disability
- To promote the creative growth and development of local individual artists
- To encourage the maximum usage of County-owned arts facilities
Our Advisory Council
Dante Houston, Chair
Dr. Barbara Leigh