Oz Griebel’s Responses

Griebel Circle

Oz Griebel, of Hartford, is an Independent candidate for Governor.

Responses are posted below exactly as provided by the candidate to our Create the Vote 2018 Questionnaire

Griebel has also published a policy plan that includes statements on Arts, Culture and Tourism: Griebel-Frank-All-In-This-Together-Plan.

1. Your Personal Connection to the Arts

We’ve all had defining moments in our lives. Is there a personal experience with arts, culture, or creativity that has had an impact on your life and your view of the community? And, if so, please tell us about it.

My primary interaction with the arts and culture community has been through service as a Board member of numerous organizations and through my interaction with many such organizations during my tenures at BankBoston Connecticut and the MetroHartford Alliance. During the past 25 years, I have served on the Boards of the Connecticut Science Center, the Greater Hartford Arts Council, the Mark Twain House, The Bushnell Center for the Performing Arts (including several years as Chair), and the Wadsworth Atheneum. I also chaired the Board of Riverfront Recapture which provides a major outdoor entertainment venue and which maintains the Lincoln sculptures that line the park and which were produced by Connecticut artists. I also note my annual financial support of all those entities and others (e.g. Charter Oak Cultural Center; Connecticut Landmarks; Hartford Stage) and my involvement in the failed attempt during my tenure on the Bushnell Board to forge a partnership among the Bushnell, the Connecticut Ballet, the Connecticut Opera, and the Hartford Symphony. While the latter relationship was ultimately established, I regret that we lost the opportunity to retain the ballet and opera companies.

2. Arts + Economic Development

From April 1, 2018 Hartford Courant, Arts and Culture Are Key Contributors to CT’s Economy: “As an industry, arts and cultural events and productions pumped $9 billion into Connecticut’s economy in 2015, generating more money than utilities and construction, according to new figures from the U.S. Department of Commerce.” This same article noted that the arts and culture sector accounts for 3.5% of Connecticut’s total economy.

As governor, how would you recognize the importance of arts and culture in economic development and the revitalization of our cities?

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.

3. Arts Education + Programs for our Youth

Students with arts instruction are 3x more likely to be recognized for academic achievement, less likely to be absent, 5x more likely to graduate, and 44% less likely to use drugs.

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

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.

4. Arts + Attracting/Retaining Talent

People want to live in culturally vibrant cities, and the arts and cultural scene influences in which city skilled workers want to work. They want to go to festivals, attend arts events, listen to live music, eat great food and meet interesting people. It’s a main reason why, according to a study by City Observatory, the number of college educated people age 25 to 34 living within three miles of city centers is up 37 percent since 2000, even as the total population of these neighborhoods has slightly shrunk.

How do you see the role of arts and culture in Connecticut’s effort to attract and retain a talented workforce?

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.

5. Arts + Return on Investment

The 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.

Will you support increased state arts funding building on this return on investment? If so, at what level and from what funding source?

As noted, 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 and my answer to #4 above. 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.

6. Arts + Tourism

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?

Per the answer to #5, 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.

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