In an election-year effort to draw attention to the importance of arts and culture to the state’s economy and welfare, the Connecticut Arts Alliance (CAA) and Connecticut Alliance for Arts Education (CAAE) have announced the launch of a campaign to “Create the Vote” in this year’s gubernatorial and other elections. All voters are encouraged to join the effort by signing up for the Create The Vote CT email list, talking to the candidates about arts and culture, and considering candidates’ platforms when they vote.
Elections are a time when candidates and voters debate the strengths and challenges of their communities. While arts and culture play a significant role in state and local economies, educational systems, and in the vibrancy of neighborhoods and downtowns, candidates often do not include arts and culture as part of their platforms or vision. Seeing the need to make the arts part of the discussion, CAA and CAAE have launched Create the Vote CT to raise awareness and support for the value of arts and culture. The project is modeled on a program first organized by MASSCreative in Massachusetts in 2013, which has grown each year since and has influenced both statewide and local elections in over forty cities throughout that state.
Create the Vote CT is a nonpartisan public education campaign led by arts organizations and regional arts councils throughout the state. The campaign aims to raise awareness of the ways that arts and creative expression improve schools, strengthen local business districts, and build vibrant neighborhoods in which people want to live, visit, work, and play.
During the Create the Vote CT campaign, CAA and CAAE will share with voters the responses candidates give to a questionnaire about arts and culture. Leaders of the Alliance organizations will also meet with candidates, and will host a candidate forum which will be open to the public.
“Expanding the political conversations this election season to include arts and culture is part of our effort,” explained Amy Wynn, President of CAA (and Executive Director of the Northwest Connecticut Arts Council). “Expanding who participates in that conversation is equally important. As working artists, arts leaders, and arts supporters, we are not sitting this election out. Create the Vote is going to help us all dive in.”
“As an organization representing arts educators,” said CAAE Chief Operating Office Dr. Jeffrey Spector, “we are especially interested in governmental and community support for arts education, and ways that we can create teaching and learning environments in which arts educators are a recognized, respected, widely sought-after, and wisely used resource in every school building.”
All interested voters and arts supporters can follow the Create The Vote CT campaign on this site and are urged to get involved by signing up for the Create The Vote CT email list, following the Connecticut Arts Alliance on Facebook (Facebook.com/ctartsalliance) and Twitter (twitter.com/CT_ArtsAlliance), and helping to promote the campaign with the hashtag #CreateTheVoteCT.