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.

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!