On March 4 and 5, a small but impressive delegation of Connecticut artists, arts administrators, and advocates traveled to Washington, D.C. for the Arts Action Summit and Arts Advocacy Day, hosted by Americans for the Arts.
The Connecticut contingent joined approximately five hundred other arts advocates from all fifty states and a few U.S. territories. Our state actually had the strongest showing from New England, and we impressed colleagues from some states of larger size! A day of inspiring and educational speeches, workshops, and planning sessions concluded with a visit to the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts where Broadway and Hollywood actor Brian Stokes Mitchell performed, and where Supreme Court Justice Sandra Sotomayor introduced legendary actor Rita Morena who gave the 32nd Annual Nancy Hanks Lecture on Arts and Public Policy.
The following day, advocates converged on Capitol Hill, and our Connecticut delegates visited the offices of both Senators and all five Representatives to advocate for increased funding for the NEA and arts-related legislation. All of the Congressional staff was incredibly welcoming and supportive of the work we’re doing on behalf of the arts at home. Representative Joe Courtney spent several minutes with the group, just as he arrived back to his office on a flight from Connecticut. Newly-elected Representative Jahana Hayes was also available to speak with the group for a short time, and she’s eager to support both the arts and of course arts education. We were glad to see much art in the offices of all of our representatives too, and art from high school students around the country in the Congressional hallways.
Our Connecticut delegation was led by CAA Administrator Darren Farrington, who is also Executive and Artistic Director of No Boundaries Youth Theater in New Britain. CAA Board Members joining were CAA Vice President Dartanion Reed, Executive Director of Hartford City Ballet, and Daniel Fitzmaurice, Executive Director of the Arts Council of Greater New Haven. They were joined by Kate McOmber, Vice President for Communications and Donor Relations at CAA Member Greater Hartford Arts Council, and by Laura Stetler, Program Manager at the Women’s Business Development Council, who is also a violinist, an arts administrator, and a military spouse (Active Duty Navy). Suzanne Kachmar, Executive Director of City Lights & Company in Bridgeport, joined for the first day of activities.
Our thanks to Americans for the Arts for organizing and hosting these important advocacy opportunities, and to all of our attendees from Connecticut. The Arts Action Summit and Arts Advocacy Day are held in March each year, and CAA would welcome more attendees from our State—including students, artists, performers, arts administrators, and arts advocates of all kinds!