Racine County Economic Development Corporation: World-renowned artist opens business in City of Burlington

Burlington, WI – Tenured university professor. World-renowned portrait artist. And now entrepreneur, business owner and City of Burlington resident.

Jean Dibble spent the last 35 years teaching art at various universities across the country. Wanting to relocate near her Kenosha family as well as start an art-based business venture, Dibble purchased a building in Downtown Burlington, located at 524 Milwaukee Ave and 581 N. Pine St. to reside and open the Jean Dibble Portrait Studio.

“I noticed some listings in Burlington and thought I would drive around town and get a feel for it,” Dibble said. “I really liked the downtown area; it is a beautiful and well-preserved turn-of-the 20th century space.”

This woman-owned business will not only fill a vacant storefront, but it also aligns with the City of Burlington’s strategic plan by encouraging private investment, preserving a proactive business climate, and developing a thriving retail area.

Funding for the building purchase was made available through a partnership between the City of Burlington, the Racine County Economic Development Corporation (RCEDC) and Community State Bank.

Business Lending Partners (BLP), a specialty area of RCEDC, coordinated financing for the project. A combination of  Burlington Revolving Loan Fund (RLF) loan and grant dollars supported the establishment of this business in Burlington.

“I am not a typical business, nor a typical business owner,” Dibble said. “The financial support is awesome and the enthusiasm by the staff at BLP is very helpful in navigating the process.”

Dibble has been creating portraits since 1983 and began to accept commissions for her portraits in 2013. Her work is showcased in over 225 exhibitions and public collections around the world. She is one of the founders of the Mid America Print Council (midamericaprintcouncil.org), a group dedicated to fostering the best in printmaking, and recently illustrated the poetry book REVOLUTIONS: a Collaboration.

The Jean Dibble Portrait Studio will offer custom, museum-quality portraits either painted with oil on a panel or drawn with a pencil or watercolor on paper. Her website (jeandibble.work) is already designed and launched, and she plans to stay engaged in the community by hosting occasional open houses and participating in Burlington’s Wine Walk that normally occurs four times a year.

The Burlington program utilized to help Dibble with the building purchase has been administered by RCEDC since 1992 and continues to serve as an effective finance resource for businesses looking to relocate to or expand in the City of Burlington.

Those interested in learning more about or utilizing the Burlington RLF should contact Carolyn Engel, Business Finance Manager for BLP, at carolyn@blp504.org or 262-898-7420.