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LIFE Study shows support for arts could be stronger

With a performing arts center dominating downtown Appleton and restored opera houses and high school theaters scattered across its counties, Fox Cities residents may view the area as being fairly strong in the arts. The numbers say otherwise.

  • There were 6.85 creative jobs per 1,000 in the Fox Cites region in 2014, compared to 10.80 in Wisconsin and 12.50 in the United States.
  • Per capita spending on arts and culture in the Fox Cities is pocket change at $82.55.  That is slightly below the state average and one-fifth of the national average of $437.
  • The Fox Cities’ total spending on the arts in 2010 was $32 million, about 8% of the revenue for the Green Bay Packers that year.

PrintThese are the facts presented in the 2016 Leading Indicators for Excellence (LIFE) Study. The quality of life study has been conducted every five years since 2001. It is sponsored by United Way Fox Cities, the Fox Cities Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the Community Foundation for the Fox Valley Region. The study looks at Outagamie, Winnebago and Calumet counties. The four priorities for community change selected by a cross-section of more than 200 area residents in a daylong examination of the LIFE Study were: poverty, youth health, student performance, and youth safety. Read more at

Other elements included in the LIFE Study’s “Culture and Belonging” section showed:

  • Voter participation is significantly stronger than in the nation as a whole.
  • Visits to public libraries have declined slowly over the past five years, but circulation of materials has been steady.
  • Charitable giving here is about 2.5% of gross income, significantly below the national average of 3.1%.

This is the last of the summaries on the sections of the LIFE Study. Past posts have covered demographics, the economy, basic needs, health and wellness, education and learning, safety and the environment.

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