Over the past months, we’ve collected responses to six questions about arts and culture from each of the gubernatorial candidates. In the final weeks before Election Day, we’ve focused on the candidates’ responses to specific questions. The spotlight this week is on arts, private investment, and tourism.
The Candidates Agree that Investment in the Arts Generates More Private Money for Connecticut
The nonprofit arts and culture industry generates $80 million in revenue to local and state government. Yet the state recently allocated only $4.2 million for arts and culture in next year’s budget, which represents a 60% decrease since 2009.
CTV: Will you support increased state arts funding building on this return on investment? If so, at what level and from what funding source?
LAMONT: Connecticut is facing a major fiscal crisis, and the next governor is going to have to make many tough decisions. With this in mind, while I cannot commit to increasing arts funding for the next fiscal year, I will commit to not decreasing funding for the arts and will actively work with my own network and our leaders statewide to support the arts and communicate the aesthetic and real economic value of the arts and culture industry.
STEFANOWSKI: One of my priorities is to fund programs that will economically boost the state. Arts and Tourism plays a important role in creating such economic growth. Given that arts and culture generate $80 million in revenue on $4.2 million, I would consider increasing general appropriations for arts and culture but I would really like to work with the business industry and the Alliance to to bring private investment to help further promote your goal.
GRIEBEL: We face a daunting fiscal challenge in the next biennium that will put pressure on all state allocations. I also emphasize our prism of 200,000 net new private sector jobs by 2028 through which we’ll evaluate all decisions. Given that prism and that answer and without making commitments to specific amounts or sources, I’m confident that we will invest creatively and strategically in arts and culture organizations and initiatives throughout our four years of leadership.
CTV: Each year arts and cultural events attract 10 million attendees with 15% coming from outside the state and 59% of those tourists coming specifically for arts and culture. Beyond featuring arts and culture in marketing efforts, how would you further capitalize on the arts as a cornerstone to CT’s vital tourism industry?
LAMONT: There is an opportunity to grow the number of visitors from out of state who attend our arts and cultural events. I would work closely with the Offices of Culture and Tourism to promote Connecticut’s reputation as an arts and culture destination regionally and nationally. Local leaders know their communities, and I will work with the Connecticut Arts Alliance, the Connecticut Alliance for Arts Education, your communities and local leaders to have conversations with the artists, restaurateurs and other cultural entrepreneurs who can offer the best insights on how the state can support their work. I will be a governor that listens.
STEFANOWSKI: I believe our arts and culture should be part of every pitch made to businesses that are interested in investing and expanding to Connecticut. Today’s workforce is diverse and they are looking to live in communities that offer those diverse experiences.
GRIEBEL: We will work to engage leaders in the tourism industry and in arts and culture organizations to develop a comprehensive, integrated, and sustainable strategy that fully exploits these two key areas of strength in Connecticut.
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 questionnaire 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.