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Redistribution of city funds helps La Crosse Arts Board move forward with projects

Kaitlyn Riley

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A big boost in funding will help bring ideas for art in La Crosse to life.

The La Crosse City Council voted Thursday to re-appropriate $30,000 of carryover funds in the 2020 capital budget to the City of La Crosse Arts Board.

“The Mayor recognized the existing priorities as well as some new ones having to deal with public art and recognizing La Crosse as a cultural destination,” La Crosse Arts Board Chair Jennifer Williams said. “He wanted to make sure the board would have funding to complete its work for 2020.”

Of the $30,000, $10,000 will be for taking inventory and assessing current public art, $5,000 is to create a new marketing plan, $10,000 for rural development, $5,000 for fund-raising, and another $5,000 for the sculpture park.

Two of the projects that were put on hold prior to the vote include the COVID Art Purchase Initiation and Arch of Nature.

The COVID Art purchase award would be for artwork that documents the city during the pandemic and would involve the city purchasing work from local artists.

“They are representing some of the challenges of this time and the resiliency,” Williams said. “We are fine tuning a call to artists. It is an opportunity for people to give examples of their work to leave a legacy that tells the story of COVID.”

Williams also expressed optimism for completing the Arch of Nature which has been on the Arts Board agenda for more than two years.

Kaitlyn Riley’s passion for communications started on her family’s dairy farm in Gays Mills, Wis. Wanting to share agriculture’s story, she studied strategic communications and broadcast journalism at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. In college, she held officer positions with the Association of Women in Agriculture and Badger Dairy Club while volunteering as a news reporter for the college radio station. She also founded the university’s first agricultural radio talk show, AgChat. In her professional career, Kaitlyn has worked in radio, print and television news doing everything from covering local events to interviewing presidential candidates, and putting back on her barn boots to chat with farmers in the field. Today, Kaitlyn can be seen covering local stories that matter to you in the La Crosse area.

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