Building an Equitable Music Ecosystem
I’m excited to share that the Greater Madison Music City project, with the support of the City, is making progress towards the goal of creating a more equitable music ecosystem in Madison. We know that the current landscape is not equitable – different types of music, different performers, even different venues are not treated the same. We have trouble retaining talent and providing the kind of entertainment our community wants. And the financial impacts of COVID-19 have been particularly devastating to the entertainment and tourism industry.
But Madison is committed to developing our music ecosystem to not only bolster COVID-19 economic recovery but to help us overcome barriers to racial equity in the ecosystem. The next step is to create a solid Greater Madison Music City Strategic Plan. The City of Madison was recently awarded $50,000 by the National Endowment for the Arts to support the strategic planning process and to achieve a faster economic recovery from the devastating impacts of COVID- 19. This builds on the $45,000 of Room Tax funds and an Arts Wisconsin “We’re All In” Creative Workforce Program grant already received.
This work is led by the Greater Madison Music City (GMMC) team, and builds on the work our partners at Urban Community Arts Network (UCAN) have done over the past decade to support hip-hop artists and audiences in our City. They, along with our City’s arts commission, championed the creation of a Task Force for Equity and Entertainment. The Task Force report, which was accepted by the Madison Common Council in 2019, included the recommendation to hire a consultant to develop a strategic cultural plan to map assets, measure economic impact of our music sector, and identify barriers to equal access in existing city policies.
Sound Diplomacy, a global music consulting firm, was hired to conduct an economic impact analysis, which will be published early this summer. The GMMC team has recently formed four subgroups to drive the Greater Madison Music City Strategic Plan: Tourism & Music Hub, Equity & Artist Relations, Partnerships & Business Connections, and Economic Impact. Each subgroup has a very diverse pool of individuals who are passionate about music and are committed to hearing from unrepresented populations and undervalued genres (i.e. Hip-Hop music). All these subgroups are currently identifying aspirations and values of Madison's music community based on each category. These subgroup members will help us design a comprehensive framework to guide actions that foster inclusion and sustainability. Our staff is currently coordinating inclusive engagement in the process, and providing grant administration oversight.
This work has just started and the GMMC team estimates between 1-3 years to finalize the Greater Madison Music City Strategic Plan. The plan will help advance the goals of our City's comprehensive plan and cultural plan. I look forward to seeing the fruits of GMMC’s strong collaborative approach including support and participation from Dane County Cultural affairs and other partners from the private sector. My thanks to the City’s Arts Program Administrator, Karin Wolf, for her constant support on the effort, and City Planner, Angela Puerta, for being the project manager of the planning process.