Candidate Questionnaire: Audrey Lampert

  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 benefitted from the arts or creative expression in the last few months? What local arts experiences have you missed most during the shutdown?

I attend plays, musicals, and performances frequently, especially during the summer months and it’s been heartbreaking to see so many events cancelled.  It’s also impacting our small businesses like restaurants and inns who normally see a bump in customers around these events.  I normally visit a museum about once a month, but haven’t since restrictions were put in place.  Even as museums open, I have many friends who are just afraid to go because they have underlying conditions.

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 stat.e

How will you help harness the power of the arts for CT’s economic recovery?

First, I think we need to make people understand how much arts contribute to the economy – I don’t think that’s well understood on either a state or national level.  Much depends on the outcome of the national election, but I think regardless of how that goes, we need to find ways to earmark funds that recognize the value of arts and culture to our community and economy, and help bolster both small businesses and those who work in the industry to manage through this.

As a side note, my daughter recently graduated with dual degrees in Theatre Studies and Stage Design, just before the entire industry shut down.  We need to find ways to support people who have long been dedicated to this industry, but also find ways to support new entries.  Gig workers in particular need support. 

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?

I find live plays in particular to be very thought provoking, and an area where there is a certain level of bravery in terms of facing hard issues, either through time tested and beloved works, or through thought provoking new efforts.  As a society, we need to continually question things, and the arts do that. 

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?

Absolutely!  Book clubs, the CT Forum, and plays that address racial justice in particular have played an important role in our national conversation.  The industry itself is incredibly inclusive, and will continue to look for ways to make what we see on screen or on stage match what we look like as a society.

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?

Hopefully, national leadership will change with this election and we’ll have more badly needed funds to support efforts at the state level.   Even if that doesn’t happen, we need people in the General Assembly willing to speak up for this industry. 

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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