At 5:30 P.M. on a mundane Wednesday evening, I headed to the Stevens Point Area Convention and Visitors Bureau to attend the Buzz Around Town. This event served as a networking opportunity for professionals involved in the local arts and culture. For entertainment, there were performances by Point Dance Ensemble and the Monteverdi Chorale.
Dave Fantle, the deputy secretary of Wisconsin Department of Tourism and tonight’s guest speaker, shared with everyone how the arts and culture of Wisconsin are closely linked to tourism. He was an extremely charming and well-versed speaker, which I later learned stems from his experience giving lectures on journalism at community events and his career as a professor at Marquette University. He began his speech by sharing the history of how he became interested in the arts and (pop) culture. This served as an engaging way to capture the audience’s attention while simultaneously establishing his credibility. Since the majority of the audience was closer to his age, his anecdotes about life before technology were an excellent way to create some common ground and to make us laugh. He described how arts groups are dealing with current budget cuts by joining forces with advertising and tourism groups. Fantle shared with us the most recent winter ad campaign for tourism in Wisconsin, which I am sharing.
It serves as a great example of how Wisconsin groups really band together because the Milwaukee symphony participated for free, the director was a Wisconsinite and donated any money he was paid, and Marcus theaters volunteered to air this ad campaign for free. The biggest expense was getting the rights to the song “Winter Wonderland.” Fantle had excellent eye contact throughout the presentation, which really enhanced his ability to connect with the audience. He only had a short list of talking points on his note card, so this really spoke to how knowledgeable and enthusiastic he is about the arts, culture, and tourism of Wisconsin.