COVID-19 Reactions and Resources

Given the timeliness and importance of the information it contains, our Spring newsletter for members is being shared publicly.


From the President

Recognizing the huge implications world-wide that are evolving currently, I challenge you to keep in mind – and help our government and community leaders understand – that the creative sector is and will always offer avenues for creatively addressing challenges, healing, understanding, and joy.

We all know the statistics that show the economic impact of the arts, but there are highly valued – and often understated – effects that are powerfully life-changing and community-shaping. Recently, thanks to the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving, a fresh and inspiring podcast – Divested, Episode 6: Arts and Culture – gave me a much needed shot in the arm in this regard. The podcast shares stories that will reinforce so many reasons why the arts are so important for all our communities – especially now.

Here’s the link to the podcast, and a link the transcript.

Remember that the Arts Matter in more ways than economically, and tell your stories. Especially as we deal with the crisis of the Coronavirus, let’s remember and remind others that the arts should play an important part of coping during the crisis and dealing with the aftermath.

Sincerely,

Amy Wynn
President, Connecticut Arts Alliance and
Executive Director, American Mural Project

P.S. Our thanks to Jonathan Winn of Thrown Stone Theatre Company in Ridgefield for creating the Arts Matter logo.


Help to Gather Data

For our arts and culture community to qualify for all the resources available to us, it is important to gather data about the social and economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

There are national, state, and, in some cases, regional surveys to complete, and although some questions are repetitive, we do ask that you take the time to complete each one as applicable.

National Survey

The Americans for the Arts’ (AFTA) survey is “designed to collect information about the financial and human impacts that the spread of the coronavirus have had on arts and cultural organizations.” There are over 10,000 arts-related businesses in our state, and we’d like to see a strong showing of responses from Connecticut!

The survey should take only 5 minutes. Be sure to complete only one survey for your organization.


State Survey

In Connecticut, the Department of Economic & Community Development (DECD), which the Office of the Arts is a part of, is collecting information from businesses (including nonprofits) to help direct the work of the Governor and the Department. This survey should also take no more than 5 minutes to complete.


Regional Surveys

Finally, the Connecticut Office of the Arts has nine Designated Regional Service Organizations (DRSO) that serve as local field offices. Four of these organizations have developed on-line surveys to gather information on the impact of the COVID-19 crisis in their region. If you’re uncertain which region your town is in, please check the listings on the DRSO link in this paragraph.

  • If you are an individual artist, please complete the survey for the city or town in which you reside.
  • If you represent a nonprofit arts organizations or for-profit creative businesses, please complete the survey based on your business location. Again, please complete only one survey for each organization or business.
  • Please note that the regional service organizations for several towns and cities do not have a survey available at this time.

Arts Council of Greater New Haven / TAKE SURVEY

Cultural Alliance of Fairfield County / TAKE SURVEY

Northwest Connecticut Arts Council / TAKE SURVEY (This is a survey for individual artists, musicians, and creative service employees only)

Southeastern Connecticut Cultural Coalition / TAKE SURVEY


Resources and Links

Data and resources available are changing rapidly during this time of crisis, so we’re providing links to governmental and organizational websites that are collecting information of interest to the cultural community.

The State of Connecticut has complied a website of information on COVID-19 and has published a document of Frequently Asked Questions on the State’s Actions Related to COVID-19 . Of particular interest to artists and art organizations may be sections on unemployment (including the Shared Work Program which supplements employees’ pay when their hours are reduced ) and assistance for small businesses and nonprofits. Note that nonprofits are eligible for low-interest Small Business Association loans.

The Alliance, a membership organization for Connecticut nonprofits, has published a COVID-19 Response Resource Center collecting links to Federal and State agency resources.

The Connecticut Council for Philanthropy has also collected Coronavirus Resources for Funders and Nonprofits.

Americans for the Arts (AFTA) has a Coronavirus (COVID-19) Resource and Response Center. AFTA provides one of the best sites for national information for our creative sector, including up-to-date news and links.

The New England Foundation for the Arts has also compiled a webpage of resources and links for artists and cultural organizations.

Finally, COVID-19 & Freelance Artists is one of the most comprehensive websites of resources we’ve found for individual and freelance artists.
If you’ve found other resources you’d like to share, please email links to info@ctartsalliance.org.

We may be socially distant, but we’re culturally connected, and sustaining each other and our arts and culture community is our top priority now.

A Year of Accomplishments with CAA

Connecticut began 2019 with the inauguration of Governor Ned Lamont following an election in which CAA’s Create the Vote CT campaign encouraged candidates and voters to consider the impact of arts and culture on our towns and cities, schools, and economy. As a result of CAA’s efforts, the new Governor formed an Arts, Culture and Tourism Transition Policy Committee to present recommendations to his incoming administration.

Also this year, CAA kicked off its first membership campaign to support the organization and the arts and culture community throughout our state. By the end of the year, 60 Charter Members had joined CAA. The membership represents 25 towns and cities throughout Connecticut, all eight counties, and the artistic disciplines of dance, music, theater, visual arts, and arts education.

In March, CAA led a delegation of Connecticut artists, arts administrators, and advocates to Washington, D.C. for the Arts Action Summit and Arts Advocacy Day, hosted by Americans for the Arts. Our group visited the offices of both Senators and all five Representatives to advocate for increased funding for the NEA and arts-related legislation.

Connecticut’s own Arts, Culture and Tourism Advocacy Day was held in April, and over two hundred arts and tourism advocates attended. 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.

In May, CAA hosted a reception for members and guests following Connecticut Arts Day , which was organized and operated by the Connecticut Office of the Arts, in New Haven. The day included special performances, panel discussions, presentations, workshops, and networking opportunities.

As Connecticut’s legislative session ended in June, CAA updated its members on General Assembly accomplishments . Calls to action and Federal legislative updates continued through the summer, and CAA published out-of-session advocacy tips in the fall.

Throughout the year, a significant project for CAA has been the development of a Strategic Plan. The plan’s actions—which include increasing fundraising, hiring a full-time executive director, changing the make-up of the board of directors, upgrading databases, developing state-wide educational campaigns, and establishing a sustainable business model—are aimed at positioning Connecticut Arts Alliance to ensure that the arts are valued as fundamental components of a vibrant, healthy, connected, and equitable Connecticut!

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.