The New Richmond Area Chamber of Commerce is inviting art enthusiasts to celebrate 51 years of the Park Art Fair with help from a $22,347 Joint Effort Marketing (JEM) grant from the Wisconsin Department of Tourism. As one of the oldest running art fairs in Western Wisconsin, the Park Art Fair features over 125 arts and crafts vendors selling pottery, furniture, jewelry, paintings, ceramics, wood crafts and more. The 2018 Park Art Fair will take place June 1-2 at Mary Park in New Richmond.

"We are thrilled to support the Park Art Fair as they continue to grow this popular event and welcome even more visitors to experience all New Richmond has to offer," said Tourism Secretary Stephanie Klett. "Events like Park Art Fair not only promote local and regional artists, but also elevate Wisconsin as an arts destination all while creating a positive economic impact in the community. Research shows that the arts play an important role in building and sustaining a vibrant economy."

The New Richmond Art Park Fair invites visitors to enjoy the beauty of St. Croix County while exploring the different art and craft displays in Mary Park. The event also features food and entertainment for attendees. With the opening of the St. Croix River Bridge connecting Minnesota and Wisconsin, the New Richmond Area Chamber hopes to attract a wider audience to the event. The Fair is expected to attract over 6,000 attendees, generating an estimated $569,000 in visitor spending in the area.

"We are thrilled to receive this JEM grant and expect many new attendees from Minnesota to take advantage of the easy access to New Richmond via the St. Croix River Crossing," said Rob Kreibich, Executive Director of the New Richmond Area Chamber of Commerce. "As one of the oldest and largest art fairs in western Wisconsin, our retooled New Richmond Park Art Fair has added several new features that are sure to be a big hit among the thousands we expect to welcome the first weekend in June."

In 2017, the tourism economy in Wisconsin totaled $20.6 billion, a 3.2 percent increase from 2016. Tourism activity supports 195,255 jobs in Wisconsin, a seven-year addition of more than 23,255 jobs to the state's total employment, an increase of 13.5 percent. Visitors generated $1.5 billion in state and local revenue. Business sales in St. Croix County reached $182.6 million in 2017, supporting 1,954 jobs and $13.9 million in state and local taxes.

In fiscal 2017, the department funded 61 JEM projects, awarding a total of more than $1.1 million. Visitor expenditures driven by the marketing from these projects will exceed $34 million. JEM grant funds are available to non-profit organizations for the promotion of Wisconsin tourism events and destinations. The state can fund up to 75 percent of a project's first-year advertising and marketing costs, and provide support for second- and third-year projects with decreasing amounts for funding until projects become self-sustaining. For information on the JEM Program and application materials, visit industry.travelwisconsin.com.