Without the idea of the Confluence Arts Center five years ago, downtown Eau Claire might be a drastically different place today.

That’s according to Jamf Software co-founder Zach Halmstad, who joined three other panelists at a discussion Tuesday to highlight the role of music and the arts in downtown Eau Claire’s economic surge.

“When I look at this,” Halmstad said as he gestured at a  graphic display behind him of the $45 million arts center, which is under construction and expected to open next year, “this is economic development through the arts.”

Halmstad; Volume One owner Nick Meyer; Sean Carey, an Eau Claire-based musician who plays in Bon Iver, S. Carey and other projects; and Jason Jon Anderson, assistant director of conferences and event production at UW-Eau Claire, addressed a crowd of about 40 people in the university’s Davies Center. The discussion was hosted through UW-Eau Claire and the Madison-based nonprofit Wisconsin Technology Council. Read the full Leader-Telegram article here.