Thank Your Legislators and Arts Office

Earlier this month, the Department of Economic and Community Development announced state Office of the Arts grants in four categories for fiscal year 2020. The interactive map below shows grant awards and the location of recipients. (Click here if the map doesn’t load.)


If your organization received a grant, we encourage you to thank your legislators. Whether or not they supported the budget that made these grants possible, legislators should hear about the positive impact that state money dedicated to the arts is having on our organizations and those they serve (who are also our legislators’ constituents and voters). In addition to thanking legislators, invite them for a photo opportunity when grant checks are presented; and then promote the photo and award. To find your current representatives and senators, click here.

Please also thank the Office of the Arts itself! Elizabeth Shapiro, the new Director of Arts, Preservation and Museums, and the entire COA staff work hard with limited resources to administer grant programs and other services for our community and state. Contact information for the COA staff is online here.

Out-of-Session Advocacy

In Connecticut, our General Assembly—composed of a Senate and a House of Representatives—convene for regular sessions in the winter and spring. In even-numbered years (like 2020), the General Assembly is in session from February to May. In odd-numbered years (like 2019), when the state budget must be drafted and approved, the regular session runs from January through June.

During the months when the General Assembly is “in session,” CAA has sometimes called our members to action to support (or sometimes oppose) a proposed bill. In April 2019, we held an Advocacy Day with the Tourism Coalition in the State Legislative Office Building, and we invited CAA members to participate.

During the in session period (in odd-numbered years), much focus lies on debating the state budget. In addition, bills that affect the arts and arts education may be proposed, referred to committee, debated, “die” in committee from inaction, or move through the legislative process to become law.

But what about the “out-of-session” months? Between June and January, much can be done to advocate for the arts, arts education, and each of our organizations individually. Here are some suggestions:

  • Add your legislators to your mailing list. To find your current representatives and senators, click here. State legislators in office now are not up for re-election until 2020. (All State Senators and Representatives in Connecticut have two-year terms with no term limits.)
  • Invite your legislators to performances, special events, and openings. Introduce them and, when appropriate and if time allows, invite them to speak briefly if they’d like.
  • Invite your legislators for a tour or meeting outside of your normal performance or event schedule. This allows for more in-depth conversation about your organization, their work in the General Assembly, and issues that are important to you.

For tips on how to contact your legislators, click here . All of these advocacy actions will help you to get to know your legislator now so that you’ll have an established relationship during the in-session months when we may call on them to support us and the arts industry. That established relationship may be key to getting a quick response, an open ear, or even their vote.

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.

2019 Legislative Session Update

The 2019 Connecticut General Assembly session ended in June, and it included a few significant wins and changes for the creative sector.

The most encouraging legislative development was the name change of the Tourism Caucus to the Arts, Culture and Tourism Caucus . The unanimous vote for the name change recognizes the important impact that arts and culture, along with tourism, have on our state. Our thanks to Senator Paul Formica and Representative Dorinda Borer for co-chairing this nonpartisan group of members of the General Assembly who meet to pursue common objectives. CAA’s own continued alliance with the Connecticut Tourism Coalition, the Connecticut Marine Trades Association, Connecticut Humanities, and the Connecticut Restaurant Association will also benefit CAA in our future advocacy efforts.

A bill recently receiving the Governor’s signature allows municipalities to create cultural districts , thereby increasing visibility and awareness of municipal cultural institutions and encouraging economic development. Another bill requiring the licensing of art therapists was incorporated into the general budget legislation and signed by the Governor.

State funding for the arts was maintained at a flat rate, in recognition of the importance of our creative sector despite a need to reduce state spending due to significant budget deficits. An increase in the percentage of lodging tax revenue going toward arts, culture and tourism, however, was not achieved.

Through a bill recommended by the House Speaker’s Blue Ribbon Commission on Tourism, the state is also reopening welcome centers , and those centers are already accepting brochures and rack cards from state arts, culture and tourism attractions. The same Blue Ribbon bill estalished an administrative Connecticut Tourism Council within DECD.

The state has also confirmed a permanent leadership position in the Office of the Arts , still within the Department of Economic and Community Development (DECD). Elizabeth Shapiro, who had been Interim Director for nine months, is now the Director of Arts, Preservation and Museums.

Thank you to our CAA members and others who contributed their voices and efforts to our advocacy work this past session. In the coming year, among other goals, we will continue to invite legislators to join the Arts, Culture and Tourism Caucus, and we will advocate for increased state funding with the Tourism Fund coalition.

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!

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

The Impact of Arts, Culture and Tourism Advocacy Day

Our thanks to all who attended Arts, Culture and Tourism Advocacy Day on April 8! Over two hundred arts and tourism advocates attended the event! One of the best ways to show our legislators that their constituents support the arts is to show up in large numbers for events like this. If their voters care, they’ll care!

Among the accomplishments of the day, 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.

As our members and followers well know, Connecticut’s arts and culture industry is important in generating tourism dollars from local and out-of-state audiences, with 69% of visitors coming for arts and cultural offerings. Not including the cost of a ticket, state residents spend an additional $23.78 on average and visitors spend $49.78 per person in our state. (See Americans for the Arts Arts & Economic Prosperity 5  study for more statistics.)

Clearly, collaboration among the arts, culture and tourism benefits us all. By uniting in advocacy and agreeing how tourism dollars should be spent, we are stronger together—especially with a new Administration keenly focused on collaboration, efficiencies, job creation, and economic growth.

UPDATE: A list of the Arts, Culture and Tourism Caucus members is on our website here . ( 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!

Join Us for Arts, Culture + Tourism Advocacy Day

Join CAA and the Connecticut Tourism Coalition for Arts, Culture + Tourism Advocacy Day on April 8!

This is an opportunity to collectively show our political leaders how valuable we are to the future of Connecticut. Your presence and voice are essential during this budget planning process to highlight the tangible benefits of investing in our industries, from building new jobs to developing vibrant cities, attracting visitors and millennials, and to expanding state tax revenue.

LOCATION

Legislative Office Building
300 Capitol Avenue
Room 1D
Hartford, CT 06106

SCHEDULE

9:00 a.m. Advocacy Day Prep Meeting – Exclusively for CAA Members

  • What to Expect at Advocacy Day
  • Legislative Session 2019 Update and Policy Recommendations
  • Tips for Advocating for the Arts
  • Brief Q & A

9:15 a.m. Registration + Exhibit Tables

  • Pickup your name tag and materials for the day.
  • Socialize, network, and visit tables from various arts, culture, and tourism partners from around the state.

10:00 a.m. Program

  • Welcome from hosts CT Tourism Coalition and CT Arts Alliance
  • Remarks from Wendy Bury (Southeastern Connecticut Cultural Coalition) and Stephen Tagliatela (Saybrook Point Inn), co-chairs of the Lamont-Bysiewicz Transition Arts, Culture and Tourism Policy Committee
  • Remarks from legislators, including Representative Toni Walker and others to be announced
  • Remarks from the Department of Economic and Community Development, including Randy Fiveash from Office of Tourism, Liz Shapiro from the Office of the Arts, and others to be announced

11:30 a.m. Tourism Caucus Meeting

  • This meeting is open to the public and usually televised on CT-N, so a standing-room-only crowd from arts, culture, and tourism is essential to make our collective message clear.
  • Welcome from Senator Paul Formica and Representative Dorinda Borer plus remarks from other legislators in the caucus
  • CT Arts Alliance and CT Tourism Coalition have specifically invited representatives to speak to the caucus members
  • Agenda includes a discussion about changing their name to Arts, Culture, and Tourism Caucus

TO PREPARE FOR THE DAY

  • Tell the legislators who represent where you live and work that you are attending Arts, Culture, and Tourism Advocacy Day and invite them to the program and caucus meeting. Not sure who they are? Search for them here.
  • Educate yourself on our policy recommendation to increase arts, culture, and tourism funding, which CT Tourism Coalition, CT Arts Alliance, CT Humanities, Marine Trades Association, CT Restaurant Association, and, most recently, the Speaker’s Blue Ribbon Panel on Tourism have endorsed.
  • Plan your travel, especially if this is your first time in the Legislative Office Building (often referred to as the “LOB”). Here is an interactive map and the detailed directions for driving and public transit. Plan enough time to get through security.
  • Make a plan for lunch. There is a cafeteria in the Legislative Office Building, but you are also welcome to pack your own food and snacks.
  • Bring some swag! We encourage you to bring materials that represent you and your organization, but please plan to bring home these materials at the end of the event.

CT Advocates in DC!

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!

Governor Releases Two-Year Budget

In an address to the state General Assembly today, Governor Lamont released a two-year proposed budget. (For his full proposal and background documentation, click here.)

Regarding arts items, the Governor’s proposal recommends maintaining flat funding in both fiscal years 2020 and 2021. His supporting documentation recognizes that “Governor Lamont’s budget maintains funding for arts and tourism programs. In Connecticut, tourism is a $14 billion economic driver that supports thousands of jobs statewide. The budget maintains over $4 million to market Connecticut as a premier destination for tourism and business growth under the Statewide Marketing program. Additionally, the budget maintains funding to support grants to arts and tourism entities throughout the region.”

The General Assembly has several weeks to come back with its proposal, and budget negotiations will begin. For other legislative proposals affecting the arts, click here.


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