Wausau advocate: City 'isn't what it isn't'

Source:  Laura Schulte at Wausau Daily Herald

When Emily Voss graduated from college four years ago, she had a decision to make.

Should she move home and open her own photography studio, or take a chance and move to New York, where she'd be one of many trying to break into a competitive industry?

The decision was difficult, but the 2009 Wausau West High School graduate decided to move back home. She opened her own photography business, VOSStudios, just days after graduating from Luther College in Iowa. Aside from having a client base already established in Wausau, there were other things that attracted Voss back to the area. Specifically, it's a community that supports and fosters artists of all types. Voss, now 25, has become an advocate for the arts and their impact on the community.

"Being a photographer, I really love the arts community in Wausau. I just think we have ourselves a little diamond in the rough that people don't know about," Voss said. "But when people find out, it's like 'Holy cow! This is in a small community like this?'"

Art has started to become its own form of marketing for the city, drawing in artists of all kinds.

"The draw for me would have been the arts community and all the different opportunities within that community," Voss said. "For me, it's seeing events out there that are unique and fun, whether it's dance lessons or the 10x10 (a $10 live music series) at The Grand or little concerts. Or even cool little quirky things or coffee shops, just the fun vibe in the downtown district. It's just a fun community."

The growing art scene wasn't the only factor attracting young professionals to Wausau.

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