The Good Life Eau Claire County  

Observations and Trends in the Good Life Surveys


1. Many people agree that there’s plentiful information about cultural offerings, and it’s easy to find. However, a sizable portion of people disagree; they say they have a hard time finding out what’s going on in Eau Claire County and this prevents them from participating. Specific comments and data.

Q. Assuming the goal is to get more good information to more people, without information overload, what would the top five steps to accomplish that goal?

Q. Respondents from all backgrounds, regardless of age or family type, seemed to agree that “other” groups — whether families, seniors, young adults, etc. — had more cultural offerings available than the respondent’s self-identified group did (no matter what group the respondent fell into). Is this only an awareness issue or something more? If so, what?Q. In a dream world, how would you foster awareness of culture in Eau Claire County?

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2. Whether they suggested a multi-purpose arena, a new arts center or focused on a place for specific arts and cultural needs, the desire for a new, larger space was addressed by many survey respondents. This appeal for a larger space is sometimes accompanied by a request for national acts which would have higher ticket prices. Overall, a large portion of respondents seem unwilling or unable to pay high ticket prices. In an organizational survey, most cultural organizations indicated they were not looking for a new facility for themselves; they did not address the possibility of a combined facility in the future. Specific comments and data.

Q. Should we address this trend in the data — the stated desire among respondents for a new, larger space — in the future vision of Eau Claire County’s cultural life?

Q. If so, what would be five specific steps to accomplish that goal?

Q. Realistically, how could Eau Claire County support some kind of larger facility? Give five specific examples.

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3. How land is used downtown, and the vitality and the diversity of downtown Eau Claire, were key issues for many respondents’ vision for Eau Claire City’s future cultural life. Specific comments and data.

Q. What goal — or goals — for Eau Claire’s future does this suggest?

Q. What would be five specific steps to accomplish that goal? (Or, if you’ve selected more than one goal, five specific steps to accomplish each goal).

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4. Respondents asserted that while summer offered plentiful activities and offerings, winter was in need of more cultural opportunities. Some also responded that weather was a barrier that prevented them from participating. Specific comments and data.

Q. Is there really a lack of cultural offerings in the winter, or is it just a perceived lack?

Q. If there is a lack, what are the top five new ideas you would like to see implemented in the winter?

Q. Being that we cannot control the weather in Wisconsin, what are the top five steps we can take to make activities and offerings available for people when weather is a barrier?

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5. Many respondents expressed interest in experiencing and/or learning about their own heritage and those of others. Specific comments and data.

Q. Do cultural events that you attend represent the entire community?

Q. What issues could prevent people from being more involved cross-culturally - attending Hmong New Year, the Honoring Education Pow Wow or Norwegian Syttende Mai?

Q. What would encourage people of different heritages, including yours, to attend such things?

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6. We found intersections between cultural life in Eau Claire County and the outdoors all over the data. Even after factoring out sports and recreational interests, for many respondents these two experiences are inextricably intertwined. Specific comments and data.

Q. Why?

Q. What can the cultural community do to take more advantage of this? What are the top five steps?

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7. Respondents were divided about cost and money no matter their income, education level or age. Many love the numerous low-cost or free options that are offered, while others commented on how expensive everything is. There was also a wide range of opinions about who should pay for these cultural opportunities, including how much respondents would be willing to pay themselves. Specific comments and data.

Q. What are the solutions? Is it to change their minds or change the prices?

Q. After choosing a top solution, what are the top five steps to achieve it?

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8. While the surveys purposely did not address the sports or recreational aspects of our culture (we know they are elements of the good life, but they have a planning process in place), they did address many cultural interests and activities. However, there were other non-sports, non-recreational cultural offerings that we did not ask about, such as community fairs or monster truck rallies. Only two respondents mentioned the mall (and one of them not very positively) and no one specifically mentioned Country Jam, even though these are two of our most well trafficked venues. (A few respondents did offer additions in the narrative questions.) Specific comments.

Q. What are other examples such as these and how do we include these in our future cultural direction?

Q. How do you get people to adopt the broadest possible definitions of culture when making cultural planning decisions?

Q. Who is responsible for the existence of a "cultural life"?

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9. Respondents indicated that they overwhelmingly value arts, culture, heritage, history and creativity. Yet in an organizational survey, cultural organizations indicated the number of people who paid a program or admission fee to be a fraction of the overall population. Specific comments and data.

Q. How do we connect what people value with the economic reality of providing the activities and experiences they participate in?

Q. What five steps could be taken to turn their expression of interest into action in Eau Claire County?

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10. In the survey questions regarding respondents’ cultural interests, 28 questions asked about “doing” activities (vs. attending/observing activities). The top “doing” activities tended to be more individual than social. Supporting data.

Q. How should future cultural planning take these activities into account as part of Eau Claire County’s cultural identity?

Q. Is there a way to mobilize individual interests into civic engagement?

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11. Many respondents indicated the University as a place where they occasionally or regularly experienced arts, cultural and heritage offerings. Specific comments and data.

Q. Besides educating its students, what is or should be the University’s main role in the broader community’s cultural life?

Q. 59 percent of respondents have a 4 year college degree or more, which is twice as many as the general public in Eau Claire County. This could be correlated to respondents’ ease at attending events and programs at the University. Do you think there are cultural barriers to the general public, who may be less familiar in a university setting, in accessing the University? If so, what are they?

Q. What are the top five steps that both the University and the broader community could take towards getting the two “communities” more involved with each other?

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12. Many respondents believe that Eau Claire County is a great place to live, with wonderful cultural offerings. Some also said that our community lacks a distinctive identity, that when people think of Eau Claire, there is not a specific attribute that comes to mind. Supporting data.

Q. If Eau Claire doesn’t have a cultural identity distinct from other similar midsize Midwestern cities (say, St. Cloud), do we need one? If so, why?

Q. What are the top five attributes, events or characteristics that make Eau Claire, Eau Claire? What sets us apart from the Midwest landscape?

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If you can't click to email, here's the address: l.reuter@cvmuseum.com


13. Some respondents were looking for more or different kinds of cooperation and coordination between Eau Claire County cultural organizations. Specific comments.

Q. How do you think cultural organizations could improve to accommodate the varying schedules of community members? For example, often events and programs are at night or on the weekends, but many people in Eau Claire work second or third shift, or on weekends.

Q. What five ways do you think organizations could better pool resources?

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If you can't click to email, here's the address: l.reuter@cvmuseum.com


14. We know rural Eau Claire County residents returned surveys, but their answers seemed to focus mainly on cultural offerings in the City of Eau Claire.

Q. What’s different about rural cultural life?

Q. What’s the same?

Q. How should issues of rural culture be represented in a cultural plan?

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If you can't click to email, here's the address: l.reuter@cvmuseum.com


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