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.

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

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.


To receive arts advocacy news and alerts, subscribe to our email list. To become a Charter Member of CAA and support our advocacy efforts on behalf of statewide arts and culture organizations, please click here.

Join Us Wednesday for Arts Policy Recommendations

On Wednesday, the Governor-elect’s Arts, Culture and Tourism Transition Policy Committee will present recommendations to the incoming administration.

The Committee is one of fifteen groups assembled by Governor-elect Lamont to make policy recommendations on issues ranging from education and healthcare to criminal justice and the economy.

Chaired by CAA Board Member Wendy Bury, the Committee has reported great progress in compiling detailed and innovative recommendations about how our industries can strengthen Connecticut.

Lamont painting

Governor-elect Ned Lamont with Kwadwo Adae this summer (Photo: Lucy Gellman)

Please join us this coming Wednesday December 19 from 10 – 11 a.m. at Goodspeed Opera House for the report by the Arts, Culture and Tourism Transition Policy Committee. Lieutenant Governor-elect Susan Bysiewicz will represent the administration, and the public is welcome to attend.

Please extend this invitation to your staff, audiences, friends, volunteers, and Board of Directors. A strong turnout will demonstrate to the administration that the creative sector matters in Connecticut!

 

Lamont-Bysiewicz Transition
Arts, Culture and Tourism Policy Committee

Wendy Bury (Southeastern CT Cultural Coalition) – Co-Chair
Stephen Tagliatela (Connecticut Tourism Coalition) – Co-Chair
Elsie Chapman (International Festival of Arts and Ideas)
Scott Dolch (Connecticut Restaurant Association)
David Fay (The Bushnell)
Daniel Fitzmaurice (Arts Council of Greater New Haven)
Jason Guyot (Mashantucket Pequot Tribe/Foxwoods)
Jeffrey Hamilton (Mohegan Tribe/Mohegan Sun)
Min Jung Kim (New Britain Museum of American Art)
Kathleen Maher (Barnum Museum)
Jason Mancini (Connecticut Humanities)
Maria Miranda (Miranda Creative, Connecticut Tourism Coalition)
Vivian Nabeta (Harriet Beecher Stowe Center)
Michael Price (Commission on Culture and Tourism)
Lisa Scails (Cultural Alliance of Western CT)
Tony Sheridan (Chamber of Commerce of Eastern CT)
Brett Thompson (Greater Hartford Arts Council)
Tina Tison (The Maritime Aquarium)
Steve White (Mystic Seaport)

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.

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!