Candidate Questionnaire: Eric Berthel


The pandemic has been challenging for so many in CT and in so many ways.How have you personally benefited from the arts or creative expression in the last few months? What local arts experiences have you missed most during the shutdown?

I have missed the availability and ability to attend live performances in person! 


CT can’t recover without the arts. Arts and culture are key for CT’s economic recovery. Creative industries pump $9 billion into the state and account for 3.5% of CT’s total economy. Our non-profit arts organizations support 23,000 jobs, generate $800 million annually, and return $7 back in tax revenue for every $1 invested by the state.
How will you help harness the power of the arts for CT’s economic recovery?

Arts are an important part of the economy of the state of CT. The legislature must make the support and recovery of all types of Arts related businesses (from a single artist to a large entertainment troupe) a priority. Artists drawn people to their galleries, performance halls, museums and stages, and along with that comes the wonderful side effect of benefit to other businesses as well. This is a large part of the fabric of our economy and economic engine.


Creativity helps us process loss, fight loneliness, and create vibrant, resilient communities that attract and retain residents, businesses, and visitors.
What do you think is an important role for arts and culture to play in healing and rebuilding the social fabric of our cities and towns?

Arts will bring people together, regardless of an opinion, position or viewpoint. Artist need to be able to perform and showcase their work, bringing people together and back out to exhibits and shows. This will help to rebuild the fabric of our communities.


The pandemic has deepened existing divides in Connecticut, particularly along the lines of race and class. The arts create shared experiences that can unite people and bridge divides to acknowledge the strength in our differences. Do you believe the arts can help build racial and social justice in Connecticut? If so, how?

The Arts have historically addressed racial and social issues in an effort to foster understanding. This is an opportunity for artists to rise to the occasion and do so again.


With 62% of artists unemployed and most arts organizations unable to reopen, the industry needs emergency support to recover and thrive. CT’s arts and culture sector has suffered an estimated $400 million in economic losses.
Will you support emergency funding to support the arts industry in Connecticut? If so, from what source and at what level?

The legislature will be challenged with addressing one of the largest deficits in the history of our great state when it convenes in January, with funding requests coming from all sectors of the economy. The legislature must look at the Arts, and the economic benefit, as it does all businesses, and support either funding or relief to promote the reopening galleries, theaters and museums.

Create the Vote CT is a nonpartisan public education campaign to raise awareness and support for the arts among voters and candidates running for public office. CT Arts Alliance launched the first Create the Vote CT during the gubernatorial election in 2018 and inspired focus on the arts during Governor Lamont’s transition and helped stabilize statewide public funding for the first time since the Great Recession. The initiative was originally conceived and developed at MASSCreative, a state arts advocacy organization in Massachusetts.

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