A week long tour by Gov. Tony Evers to encourage travel in Wisconsin kicked off Monday with a stop in downtown La Crosse.
Evers made his first-ever visit to the Pump House Regional Arts Center, highlighting music, theater and visual art as attractions that can draw people to towns and cities.
The governor noted that arts groups were hit hard by the pandemic.
“We’re really glad that things are coming back, and our tourism industry is far exceeding our expectations,” Evers said. “As economic development, we did more than any of our surrounding states as far as income” from arts programs.
The Pump House was able to obtain a state grant for $288,000 to make building improvements.
Evers said the state could encourage more tourism by investing money into museums and performing arts groups.
“The arts are part of the tourism industry here in Wisconsin,” Evers said, noting the Pump House is one reason why visitors should come downtown.
The former water department pumping building on King Street has been used for concerts, plays and art exhibits since the 1970s.
The local Artspire festival, coming up in June, will be based in and around the Pump House.