CAA News and Updates

This page includes current and past news, updates, and blog posts. Please browse the page to learn more about Connecticut Arts Alliance and our advocacy efforts and education campaigns.

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It’s Time to CREATE THE VOTE!

Election Day
You’ve read the gubernatorial candidates’ responses to our questionnaire, you’ve learned where they each stand on issues affecting arts and culture, and now it’s time to VOTE!
Election Day is tomorrow! Here are three steps you can take to help get out the vote on November 6:
If you aren’t registered, Election Day registration is available at a designated location in each town. You will need to provide proof of identity and residency, and you must be registered by 8 p.m. in order to vote. Contact your local Registrar of Voters with questions about Election Day locations to register.

RECENT OP-EDS AND ARTICLES ON THE ARTS

Candidates Agree that Arts Are a Solution for Private Investment

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

Solution for InvestmentThe 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.

Candidates Agree that Arts Are a Solution for Education

Solution for EducationOver 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. The spotlight this week is on education.

Did you know:
  • Students with arts instruction are three times more likely to be recognized for academic achievement, less likely to be absent, five times more likely to graduate, and 44% less likely to use drugs.
  • Schools and employers rank a degree in the arts among the most significant indicators of a candidate’s creativity and innovation skills—and creativity is cited by employers as one of the top three traits most important to career success.

The candidates have agreed that arts contribute to a well-rounded education.

CTV: Do you support arts education as a statewide priority? If so, how will you champion arts education for our youth?

LAMONT: In an environment that is very focused on STEM education I believe that it is important to remember the incredible impact that the arts can have on young students. When I was a volunteer teacher at Harding High School the principal told me that she supported the arts because she believed that students need to find something that they excel at, and something that inspires them to come to school every day. As a young man, the arts gave me the confidence boost that I needed and I believe that they will do that for others as well.

I will champion arts education by working with local leaders, the private sector and the legislature to ensure that more of our young people and communities have access to arts education. Through my own visits as governor and by speaking out in support of diverse programming, I will help people across Connecticut recognize that the arts are interconnected to economic development and the well-being of our residents, helping people realize their value beyond the aesthetic.

STEFANOWSKI: The expression of art, and our cultural stores are fundamental development tools for our children. I believe that it is imperative that school funding to our municipalities and schools remain intact so art and cultural programs may remain in place.

GRIEBEL: Arts education is a major contributor to the development of critical thinking skills in our K-12 students. The Griebel-Frank administration will certainly be a vocal champion of arts education, whether delivered by public or private schools or by independent arts organizations such as our museums, theaters, and universities. Given the projected fiscal challenges in the FY’20 and FY’21 budget, our Administration will have to work closely with arts and culture organizations and their funders to ensure that whatever State funds are available are leveraged to the maximum extent possible.


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.

Imperative for Continued Office of the Arts Leadership

There has been some confusion and misinformation this week about the recently announced job posting for an Arts and Culture Administrator at the Department of Economic and Community Development (DECD). The Connecticut Arts Alliance, a non-profit advocacy organization led by artists, educators, and arts executives from all over our state, would like to clarify some details about this position and its importance to the creative sector in our state.

Up until a year ago, the person in this position had been appointed by the Governor, which has historically created inconsistencies with each selection or change of administration and politicization of the position. DECD corrected this problem last year by classifying (making permanent) the position with a clear job description and specific qualifications to oversee the Office of the Arts and State Historic Preservation Office. Kristina Newman-Scott, originally appointed by Governor Malloy in 2015 and often referred to as the Director of Culture, was hired for this permanent position.

DECD is simply rehiring for this job, which has been vacant since early summer when Newman-Scott left the position, as they would for any other vacancy in the department. This is not a political appointment and the job has specific criteria, which is why they are conducting a national search to secure the very best applicants to serve our state.

The Connecticut Arts Alliance has worked with many different leaders at DECD’s Office of the Arts over the last 15 years. During that time, the state arts agency has been periodically stalled from realizing its full potential for both the state and for the arts sector because of the frequent changes in leadership and inconsistent knowledge of and experience in the cultural sector. We need to maintain the status of this leadership position to ensure that our relationships with the federal government and many other state and local partners continue unimpeded, as well as to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the agency.

This position is dedicated to the long term, rather than the duration of a political appointment. At long last, Connecticut can have consistent cultural leadership with the required expertise to carry forward strategic initiatives and reinforce the agency’s very capable team. With this position in place, we now suffer fewer unnecessary delays in the progress and impact that the Office of the Arts could have for the state. Having this leadership position filled as a permanent, classified post will stop the practice of unintentional derailment of the agency by political appointees who do not have the experience or expertise or the commitment to the long-term.

For those who wonder—why does this position exist at all? If you are an artist, involved with an arts or cultural organization, or enjoy experiencing creative events in your community, then you know the importance of the Director of Culture to oversee our industry in state government and harness the power of the arts to educate the next generation, build vibrant communities, and attract and retain employers and residents.

If you are not a believer, then consider first that the nonprofits arts and cultural sector in Connecticut is an $800 million industry that supports over 23,000 jobs statewide. Next, this position for the Office of the Arts, together with those of Historic Preservation and the four museums, manages millions in federal and state funding and has critical oversight and responsibility for regulatory functions. This position leverages nearly $1 million in matching grants from the National Endowment for the Arts for statewide grantmaking and programs, which are guided by a formal strategic plan. Overall, strong leadership at the Office of the Arts helps to catalyze investment from the business and donor community, promote collaboration with other areas of government, particularly education and tourism, and ensure accountability and efficiency.

With the facts about and importance of this position now clear, the Connecticut Arts Alliance hopes that DECD will secure the best candidate possible as soon as possible for our next Director of Culture. It is important to maintain consistency in a sector that is one of Connecticut’s strengths and a solution to—not part of—Connecticut’s economic problems. Let’s not re-break what has already been fixed.

Candidates Agree that Arts are a Solution for Our Cities

Solution for Cities

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.

State Arts Alliances Launch “Create the Vote”

 

Create the Vote logo (square)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.

Click here to learn more about Create the Vote CT, to sign up for email updates, or to become an organizational co-sponsor.

CREATE THE VOTE CT

This is a gubernatorial election year in Connecticut, and elections are a great time to talk about the strengths and challenges our state faces and the vision for our community. While candidates spend lots of time talking about jobs, the economy, and education, they rarely talk about arts and culture as part of their vision. Seeing the need to make arts and creativity part of the discussion, Connecticut Arts Alliance (CAA) and the Connecticut Alliance for Arts Education (CAAE) are launching Create the Vote CT.

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.

Create the Vote logo (transparent)

Create the Vote logosThe campaign was established by arts, cultural, and creative institutions and leaders. Organizations, businesses, and individuals are welcome to join the effort to raise arts and culture in the conversation around elections.

Click here to learn more about Create the Vote CT, to sign up for email updates, or to become an organizational co-sponsor.

Help #SAVEtheNEA

Save the NEAThe Board and Staff of Connecticut Arts Alliance have written to the State’s Federal legislators and are reaching out to all arts supporters to help save and encourage funding of the National Endowment for the Arts.

On February 12, 2018, President Trump released his FY 2019 budget request.  The President’s proposal includes the termination of our nation’s cultural grant-making agencies, including the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS), and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

Last July, the U.S. House of Representatives approved a funding level of $145 million for the NEA, which represented a $5 million cut. In November, the Senate set the NEA’s funding level at $150 million for FY18, which is level with its current budget (and only 0.004% of the Federal budget). As the funding process moves forward, we encourage our legislators to support no less than a funding level of $150 million for the NEA for FY18. We also ask them to support funding in the amount of $155 million for FY19 and to reject the President’s request to terminate the NEA.

The NEA is the single largest national funder of nonprofit arts in America. For more than 50 years, the NEA has expanded access to the arts for all Americans, awarding grants throughout all 50 states and U.S. Territories. NEA grants help leverage more than a 9 to 1 match in private charitable gifts and other state and local public funding. The NEA also has an exemplary partnership with the states, with 40 percent of program funds distributed through state arts agencies. In 2017, fourteen arts organizations in Connecticut directly received NEA funding, hundreds more indirectly benefitted from an NEA grant to the Connecticut Office of the Arts, and millions of our State’s citizens and out-of-state tourists have enjoyed NEA-funded programming.

With only a $150 million current annual budget, the NEA investments in the arts helps contribute to a $730 billion economic arts and culture economic industry, including 4.2 percent of the annual GDP and supporting 4.8 million jobs that yields a $26 billion trade surplus for the country. In Connecticut, the nonprofit arts and culture industry generates $797.3 million in annual economic activity in the state, supporting over 23,000 full-time equivalent jobs and generating $72.3 million in local and state government revenues.

We ask all supporters of the arts to contact their legislators to request their assurance that this work continues by supporting no less than $150 million for the NEA in the FY18 budget and $155 million in FY19.

Arts and the State Budget

Arts MatterWith a state budget still not passed in Connecticut, arts organizations—along with all other businesses and economic sectors—face uncertain financial futures. A survey conducted among nonprofit arts organizations and arts providers in September indicated that the delay in passing a state budget had already affected over 58% of respondents, primarily in requiring programming cuts. Other negative effects were payroll cuts, hiring freezes, reduction in operating hours, nonpayment of accounts payable, lack of booking arts education programs and performances through schools, and massive efforts to replace state dollars with private funding. Over 66% of respondents believed that further delay in passing a budget would cause additional hardships, with the most extreme fear being a forced closure.

As we continue to wait for a state budget, it is important to stress the economic necessity of arts funding—which represents only 0.02% of that budget—to our legislators. The following two messages must be our priority.

  • In order for Connecticut not to completely disqualify itself from receiving federal NEA matching funds, the state budget MUST have at least $1 million in designated arts funds sourced through the General Fund, and not through a fund that is controlled only by revenues generated by the hotel tax, as is currently proposed. Current budget proposals will disqualify Connecticut from receiving matching NEA funding.
  • In order to maintain, an already bare bones nonprofit cultural sector that has proven to be a sound and dependable return on investment, the arts need to receive at least $5 million in additional funding from the newly proposed Marketing, Culture and Tourism Account. That is what will allow the arts sector to continue to generate state and local revenues and make our state a great place to live, work, and play.

Connecticut’s nonprofit arts and culture industry generates $797.25 million in annual economic activity in the state of Connecticut, supporting over 23,000 full-time equivalent jobs and generating $72.27 million in local and state government revenues, according to the Arts & Economic Prosperity 5 national economic impact study conducted by Americans for the Arts.

Please keep these facts in mind and, arts organizations and supporters, please continue to share them with your legislators and stress the importance of keeping the arts alive in our great state!