Over the past months, we’ve collected responses to six questions about arts and culture from each of the gubernatorial candidates.
In the next weeks, we’re going to focus on the candidates’ responses to specific questions. This week, we spotlight the candidates’ solutions for creating vibrant cities that will attract and retain talent.
CTV: As governor, how would you recognize the importance of arts and culture in economic development and the revitalization of our cities?
LAMONT: The creative economy is booming around the nation. Recognizing the importance of the arts to economic development will be an important element of my administration. Specifically, I will be a partner to our urban and rural communities in creating alternative funding streams for the arts. I would seek to replicate, in our Connecticut context, the example of the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art (MASS MoCA) in North Adams. Once a thriving electronics manufacturer, the plant closure in the 1980s decimated the community. Today, the once-vacant 16-acre factory not only hosts massive art installations, but also supports local small businesses and industry by renting out space and hosting events. It’s this kind of diverse economic activity that has the potential to revitalize our own communities and build livable cities, and the arts will be a critical piece of my revitalization and economic development strategy.
STEFANOWSKI: As governor, I would like to visit towns and learn first hand how they successfully incorporated art and culture into their economic development plans and apply it statewide. The state needs to help market all the talent and diversity not only to increase tourism, but to make CT attractive for people to move into, and high tech jobs to invest in.
GRIEBEL: I reference my response to the prior question to illustrate my understanding, based on the past 25 years, of the importance of arts and culture to economic development, job retention and growth, and revitalizing our cities. I also note the key principle of the Griebel-Frank Administration that each of our fiscal and public policy decisions will be evaluated through the prism of whether the decision will enhance Connecticut’s ability to secure 200,000 net new private sector jobs by 2028.
CTV: How do you see the role of arts and culture in Connecticut’s effort to attract and retain a talented workforce?
LAMONT: After GE left Connecticut I lead a group that was tasked with asking and answering the question: why? GE talked about our crumbling infrastructure, but they also talked about the difficulty in attracting young talent to their suburban campus. They said they could have better attracted these young people by having more of a presence in our urban communities because many young people want to live in vibrant cities. Part of what makes for a vibrant, livable city is a thriving arts community. Thriving arts that contribute to vibrant cities are key to attracting and keeping a talented young workforce, and thus are key to attracting and keeping all kinds of businesses and industries to Connecticut.
STEFANOWSKI: I believe today’s workforce is more diversified and interested in the arts and culture and chose to live in communities and states that can offer them those choices. Therefore the more art and culture that is generated in our state, the better prepared we are to attract such talented workforce.
GRIEBEL: It goes without saying that arts and culture organizations generate excitement and creative energy, the keys to vibrant cities which in turn are critical to retaining and attracting a talented workforce. Our Administration will work with the Mayors of our major urban centers and with the leaders of our arts and culture organizations to determine the most comprehensive and coordinated approach to using the latter to strengthen the former.
Create the Vote CT is a nonpartisan public education campaign to raise awareness and support for the arts among voters and candidates running for public office.
Click to read the complete responses from Ned Lamont, Oz Griebel, and Bob Stefanowski. Lamont has also published an additional policy statement on Investing in Arts and Culture. Griebel has published a Policy Plan that includes statements on Arts, Culture and Tourism.