Federal Legislation Update

Several pieces of Federal legislation are pending which will affect the creative sector. Our thanks to Americans for the Arts for providing these updates through our State Advocacy Captain, CAA Administrator Darren Farrington.

NEA Appropriations

In June, the U.S. House of Representatives passed ten appropriations bills, including an Interior, Environment and Related Agencies Bill which increases National Endowment of the Arts (NEA) and National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) funding each by $12.5 million to a total of $167.5 million each.  The U.S. Senate may now begin to consider Appropriations bills. The proposed White House budget had eliminated funding for the NEA and NEH for the third consecutive year.

On August 1, Representative Joe Courtney (CT-2) and Southeastern Connecticut Cultural Coalition will host an Arts, Culture and Humanities Federal Grants Forum. Representatives from the NEA, NEH, and Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) will present information about current grant programs and processes and criteria for applying. All Connecticut arts organizations are welcome, but space is limited, and registration is required. To register, visit www.culturesect.org.

CREATE Act

This spring, Senator Tom Udall (D-NM) and Rep. Debbie Dingell (D-MI) reintroduced the Comprehensive Resources for Entrepreneurs in the Arts to Transform the Economy (CREATE) Act  in both the U.S. Senate and House. Among the goals of the CREATE Act are “to assist entrepreneurs, support development of the creative economy, and encourage international cultural exchange.” As described by Americans for the Arts, “the CREATE Act aims to more thoroughly serve the people, places, and programs that make our nation’s creative economy prosper in all its cultural, social, and commercial forms.”

To date, no Connecticut Senators or Representatives have signed on as co-sponsors of the CREATE Act. Read here how to contact them and ask.

STAR Act

In June, Rep. Alma Adams (D-NC) introduced the Saving Transit Art Resources (STAR) Act. In 2015, Congress prohibited the use of Federal Transit Administration (FTA) funds for including art in transit projects. Further, by accepting FTA funds, local government funding is restricted as well. The STAR Act would “allow certain funds to be used for incremental costs of incorporating art into facilities, and for other purposes,” thereby giving local communities the option of including the arts in federally funded transit projects.

No Connecticut Senators or Representatives have yet signed on as co-sponsors of the STAR Act. Click here to contact them.

RISE from Trauma Act

Also in June, Senators Dick Durbin (D-IL), Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), and Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) introduced the bi-partisan RISE from Trauma Act “to improve the identification and support of children and families who experience trauma.” Americans Arts worked with Sen. Durbin’s staff to draft arts-focused language into the bill which would include state and local arts agencies among those eligible for support and which would add a new grant-making category to the NEA’s authorizing language for “projects, programs, and workshops that provide therapy and creative expression opportunities through the arts for children, and their families as appropriate, who have experienced or are at risk of experiencing trauma.”

CAA will continue to provide updates on these and other Federal bills affecting the creative sector.

Meet Our Members: The Wadsworth Atheneum

Connecticut Arts Alliance has begun a series of posts spotlighting its CAA members. The Membership Program, begun earlier this year, joins together arts organizations, artists, and arts patrons throughout Connecticut in building a strong arts and culture sector that benefits the arts and all Connecticut residents.

Founded in 1842 with a vision for infusing art into the American experience, the Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art in Hartford is home to a collection of nearly 50,000 works of art, spanning 5,000 years and encompassing European art from antiquity through Modernism as well as American art from the 1600s through today. The Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art is the oldest continuously-operating public art museum in the United States, opening its doors to the public in 1844.

The Wadsworth Atheneum has paved the way for encyclopedic museums across the country, presenting engaging and groundbreaking exhibitions that explore every era of art history while consistently being at the forefront of collecting works by diverse artists. Today, visitors to the Wadsworth galleries find captivating and innovative programs mining the iconic holdings and offering new stories that illustrate the breadth and quality of the collection.

Highlights include the Morgan collection of Greek and Roman antiquities and European decorative arts; world-renowned Baroque and Surrealist paintings; an unsurpassed collection of Hudson River School landscapes; European and American Impressionist paintings; Modernist masterpieces; the Serge Lifar collecton of Ballets Russes drawings and costumes; the George A. Gay collection of prints; the Wallace Nutting collection of American colonial furniture and decorative arts; the Samuel Colt firearms collection; costumes and textiles; African American art and artifacts; and contemporary art.


CAA is Connecticut’s ONLY statewide arts advocacy organization. If you agree that the advocacy efforts of Connecticut Arts Alliance on behalf of arts and culture in our state are important, please consider becoming a Charter Member today!

Meet Our Members: Artreach

Connecticut Arts Alliance has begun a series of posts spotlighting its CAA members. The Membership Program, begun earlier this year, joins together arts organizations, artists, and arts patrons throughout Connecticut in building a strong arts and culture sector that benefits the arts and all Connecticut residents.

Artreach, an Arts & Health Agency based in Norwich, has been supporting mental health and wellness through the creative and performing arts since 1985. Second Step Players comedy troupe has been a mainstay since the company’s inception, and the group performs original sketch comedy about mental health issues throughout Connecticut and in tours around the country.

The Players touring performances reach audiences from all walks of life: providers of mental health services, students in nursing and psychology programs, family members, and other people who have experienced psychiatric issues. Other programs include Artreach Heals Coffeehouse, Comedy Alchemy stand-up comedy troupe, artistic development programs, and wellness programs.

The Artreach community is supportive and fun. Artreach’s innovative approaches to wellness use the creative arts to help adults who have experienced psychiatric disorders achieve sustainable recovery. Performing educational theater and stand-up comedy locally and nationally enables Artreach to touch the hearts of audience members.


CAA is Connecticut’s ONLY statewide arts advocacy organization. If you agree that the advocacy efforts of Connecticut Arts Alliance on behalf of arts and culture in our state are important, please consider becoming a Charter Member today!

Meet Our Members: Greater New Britain Arts Alliance

Connecticut Arts Alliance has begun a series of posts spotlighting its CAA members. The Membership Program, begun earlier this year, joins together arts organizations, artists, and arts patrons throughout Connecticut in building a strong arts and culture sector that benefits the arts and all Connecticut residents.

The Greater New Britain Arts Alliance promotes the creative, performing, and visual arts in New Britain, Berlin, Newington, Plainville, and Southington. The Arts Alliance provides a unified voice for arts organizations, serves as a catalyst for arts-related collaborations, nurtures individual creative abilities, and advocates the arts as vital to the economic health and quality of life in the region.

Its website and weekly Happening Here newsletter promotes events and performances in the region.

GNBAA also operates the STOCKMAN Gallery, a staffed gallery space where artists’ work can be experienced and marketed.


CAA is Connecticut’s ONLY statewide arts advocacy organization. If you agree that the advocacy efforts of Connecticut Arts Alliance on behalf of arts and culture in our state are important, please consider becoming a Charter Member today!

Meet Our Members: Thrown Stone Theatre Company

Connecticut Arts Alliance has begun a series of posts spotlighting its CAA members. The Membership Program, begun earlier this year, joins together arts organizations, artists, and arts patrons throughout Connecticut in building a strong arts and culture sector that benefits the arts and all Connecticut residents.

Thrown Stone Theatre Company in Ridgefield presents new and reimagined plays that spark reflection, emotion, and conversation. The company cultivates artists and audiences through opportunity, education, and mentorship, emphasizing new work and unconventional approaches to repertoire. They are committed to integrity, inclusiveness, and using technology to serve the region with theater of distinction.

The company members of Thrown Stone believe that work is inseparable from the place where it grows. They honor and celebrate local character, culture, and history. All theater is site-specific, and Thrown Stone will highlight local facilities and resources in our productions.

Thrown Stone is named after an allegory by the 17th-century philosopher, Benedict de Spinoza. Opposing Descartes’ conception of free will, he argued that like thrown stones, we are set in motion by “the impulsion of an external cause” and are “necessarily determined by some external cause to exist and operate in a fixed and determinate manner.” It also sounds cool. Read more on the company’s About page.


CAA is Connecticut’s ONLY statewide arts advocacy organization. If you agree that the advocacy efforts of Connecticut Arts Alliance on behalf of arts and culture in our state are important, please consider becoming a Charter Member today!

CALL TO ACTION! ACT NOW!

With less than three weeks remaining in the 2019 Legislative Session, we ask you to contact your legislators and urge them to support the recommendations of the Connecticut Arts Alliance, the Connecticut Tourism Coalition, CT Humanities, the Connecticut Restaurant Association, and the Connecticut Marine Trades Association.

What We’re Asking

  •  Allocate 25% of lodging tax revenue into the Tourism Fund (the current allocation is 10%).
  • Define in legislation the industry-supported ratio of investment within the fund of 60% to tourism and 40% to arts & culture.

Talking Points

  • Increasing the amount of lodging tax revenue collected that is re-invested into arts, culture and tourism will increase jobs, spur economic growth, and increase tax revenue to the state.
  • Defining a 60/40 allocation within the Tourism Fund reflects and maintains current investment ratios.
  • Defining a 60/40 allocation ensures predictable funding to both arts & culture and to tourism, as the Tourism Fund amount will change over time.
  • There is a $7 to $1 return on investment (ROI) for arts and culture investment and $3 to $1 for tourism investment.
  • Language supporting the allocations can be added to an existing bill or to a budget implementer bill.

Advocacy Tools You Can Use

Click here to identify and contact your legislators. Please also contact Legislative Leaders and leadership of the Appropriations Committee and Finance Committee.

Please SHARE this email with board members, staff, volunteers, and others who you can ask to make a phone call, send an email, or reach out to representatives to stress the importance and value of including this language in a bill this legislative session.

CAA is Connecticut’s ONLY statewide arts advocacy organization. If you agree that the advocacy efforts of Connecticut Arts Alliance on behalf of arts and culture in our state are important, please consider becoming a Charter Member today!

Meet Our Members: Rowayton Arts Center

Connecticut Arts Alliance has begun a series of posts spotlighting its CAA members. The Membership Program, begun earlier this year, joins together arts organizations, artists, and arts patrons throughout Connecticut in building a strong arts and culture sector that benefits the arts and all Connecticut residents.

For almost 60 years, the Rowayton Arts Center (RAC) has been a community cultural hub providing an accessible environment for the exchange of arts-related ideas. RAC’s open and airy building on the scenic banks of the Five Mile River is the setting for exhibits and receptions, along with classes and workshops for artists at all levels, attracting participants and visitors from the area and beyond. RAC now has more than 200 members, including nationally-recognized professionals, talented amateurs, beginners, and non-artists from Fairfield County and beyond.

RAC is dedicated to providing access to the arts through opportunity, education and outreach. RAC’s programs are supported by membership dues, class and workshop fees, commissions on sales, state grants, and donations from generous individuals, foundations, and civic-minded businesses.

Moving beyond our own membership, RAC reaches out to the community through arts-related activities, sometimes in cooperation with other organizations such as local libraries, historical societies, schools, environmental groups and the Cultural Alliance of Fairfield County. Each June, RAC invites everyone to join in a community plein-air painting competition and show with an opening reception that features live music and refreshments.


CAA is Connecticut’s ONLY statewide arts advocacy organization. If you agree that the advocacy efforts of Connecticut Arts Alliance on behalf of arts and culture in our state are important, please consider becoming a Charter Member today!

The New Arts, Culture and Tourism Caucus

Among the accomplishments of Arts, Culture and Tourism Advocacy Day on April 8, a unanimous vote to change the name of the legislative Tourism Caucus to the Arts, Culture and Tourism Caucus was a significant achievement for our industry. The name change recognizes the important impact that arts and culture, along with tourism, have on our state.

A list of the Arts, Culture and Tourism Caucus members is included below. (You can find your own legislators here.) Please thank your legislators who are on the caucus already, and encourage those who are not to join!

Arts, Culture and Tourism Caucus Members

Rep. Barry, Jill
Rep. Betts, Whit
Rep. Borer, Dorinda (Co-Chair)
Rep. Boyd, Pat
Rep. Buckbee, William
Rep. Camillo, Fred
Rep. Carney, Devin
Rep. Cheeseman, Holly
Rep. Concepcion, Julio
Rep. Conley, Christine
Rep. Dillon, Patricia
Rep. Dubitsky, Doug
Rep. Floren, Livvy
Rep. France, Mike
Rep. Frey, John
Rep. Garibay, Jane
Rep. Gresko, Joseph
Rep. Haines, Irene
Rep. Horn, Maria
Rep. Klarides-Ditria, Nicole
Rep. Kokoruda, Noreen
Rep. Lavielle, Gail
Rep. MacLachlan, Jesse
Rep. McCarty, Kathleen
Rep. Palm, Christine
Rep. Petit, William
Rep. Riley, Emmett
Rep. Rose, Kim
Rep. Rotella, Kate
Rep. Ryan, Kevin
Rep. Simmons, Caroline
Rep. Steinberg, Jonathan
Rep. Tercyak, Peter
Rep. Turco, Gary
Rep. Wood, Kerry
Rep. Zawistowski, Tami
Rep. Zupkus, Lezlye
Sen. Berthel, Eric
Sen. Cohen, Christine
Sen. Formica, Paul (Co-Chair)
Sen. Hwang, Tony
Sen. Kushner, Julie
Sen. Maroney, James
Sen. Martin, Henri
Sen. Miner, Craig
Sen. Osten, Catherine
Sen. Somers, Heather

Join CAA on Arts Day!

Come celebrate Connecticut Arts Day with the Connecticut Office of the Arts on May 2. The annual event will be held in New Haven this year at College Street Music Hall (a CAA Charter Member) and the Omni New Haven Hotel at Yale.

Connecticut Arts Day celebrates Connecticut’s investment in and support of the arts and reaffirms the significant role the arts play in our state. The day includes special performances, panel discussions, presentations, workshops, networking opportunities, and the presentation of Connecticut Office of the Arts’ Lifetime Achievement Award! (Arts Hero Awards will be presented in Hartford on the evening of May 1.)

Connecticut Arts Alliance will host a cocktail reception beginning at 4:00 p.m. on Arts Day. There will be hot hors d’oeuvres and a cash bar. The event will be open to all Arts Day attendees, and CAA Charter Members will receive tickets for two complimentary drinks per organization.

For more event details and to register for the full day, please click here.

If you are a CAA Charter Member planning to attend the cocktail reception, please let us know by responding to darren@ctartsalliance.org.

Meet Our Members: Oddfellows Playhouse

Connecticut Arts Alliance has begun a series of posts spotlighting its CAA members. The Membership Program, begun earlier this year, joins together arts organizations, artists, and arts patrons throughout Connecticut in building a strong arts and culture sector that benefits the arts and all Connecticut residents.

Oddfellows Playhouse Youth Theater is a Middletown-based non-profit which offers classes, productions and special events in theater, dance, music, circus and visual arts to kids ages 4 to 20 and their families. Founded in 1975 by a small group of college students, Oddfellows remains Connecticut’s largest and most active year-round youth theater, an independent, not-for-profit organization that annually serves over 1,200 young people.

Oddfellows believes that access to high-quality arts experiences is a fundamental right. Throughout its history, Oddfellows has remained committed to artistic excellence and social change. The Playhouse’s mission has three parts: 1) an artistic dimension to provide high-quality theater by and for young people; 2) an educational dimension to promote the growth of young people–in skills, knowledge, and self-confidence–through the performing arts; and 3) a social action dimension to offer opportunities especially to underserved and at-risk youngsters to promote the development of a genuinely multiracial, multicultural society. Individual Playhouse programs must address at least one of these broad goals; Playhouse activities as a whole must address all three.

“Antigone” (2018)

Signature programs include the Teen Repertory Company, Circophony Teen Circus, Oddbridge After-School Program, and the Children’s Circus of Middletown. For more information about Oddfellows Playhouse and current programs, contact info@oddfellows.org or call (860) 347-6143.


If you agree that the advocacy efforts of Connecticut Arts Alliance on behalf of arts and culture in our state are important, please consider becoming a Charter Member today!