Candidate Questionnaire: Cathy Hopperstad

1. YOUR PERSONAL CONNECTION TO THE ARTS

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?

My main interests are in music, film, and theater. I am a frustrated musician and therefore, ensured that my son became a proficient percussionist.  He attended Berklee when he was a senior in high school, formed a band, made a recording, and graduated from college in Art Education and Graphic Arts.  As a teacher, I bring my students to our local museums. Personally, I am a regular at Infinity Hall in Hartford and Norfolk.  I miss my monthly concerts!   I can no longer afford the theater, so I must make a choice.  Even Infinity is becoming prohibitive. 

2. ARTS + ECONOMIC RECOVERY

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?

First, the State of Connecticut must get its fiscal house in order before any discussions about funding for anything but essential services.  The average citizen cannot afford to attend art events.  We need to make CT affordable and retain its current residents and attract new ones first; however, I strongly believe in music and art education and that the federal 21st Century Community School Centers should focus on leisure activities and not academics.  Moreover, the grant program should be managed by local recreation and art music/arts programs.   You have my full support on this issue.

3. ARTS HEAL + REBUILD

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?

My first degree is in recreation and leisure education and I was a municipal recreation administrator for twelve years.  I wholeheartedly support the community school/recreation concept and I believe it is needed now more than ever.  See answer to #2!



4. ARTS SUPPORT RACIAL & SOCIAL JUSTICE

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?

I believe that the media is the driving force behind this divisiveness.  The arts are needed to help young people find an acceptable outlet for expression.  Again, it must be in the schools and in after school programs within a community.  If a child is exposed to it at an early age and develops his or her talent at that time, it is a tremendous equalizer.  Each child needs to be healthy and physically fit (proper nutrition and exercise) but s/he also needs emotional, spiritual and creative development to become a well-rounded adult.  It’s a great solution to depression and addiction. 



5. CT NEEDS HELP FROM THE ARTS

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?

I support fully opening Connecticut now.  The numbers do not support these draconian measures.  Sanitize, social distance and wear a mask.  It can be done.  OpenCTNow!

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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