Candidate Questionnaire: Michelle Lapin McCabe

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 first career was as a museum curator; I have a Master’s Degree in Art History and Criticism.  My family members are actors, directors, and dramaturgs. Point being, I love the arts and, before COVID-19, I was an avid visitor of museums, and theater, dance, film and music performances. I’ve tried to continue this steady diet of the arts while keeping close to home and, while online versions are better than nothing, I miss communing with the arts in a shared space.

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?

We need to fund the arts’ ability to weather the economic impact of the virus, as well as supporting their ability to pivot to online or socially distant means of production until we are able to convene as before.  As you can tell, I value the arts and am committed to ensuring that the urgency of keeping our arts community strong is as important as any other industry in the state.

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?

The arts have been a personal place of healing for me, for self-reflection, for inhabiting a different world or person’s experience and therefore expanding my own consciousness.  It reminds us of what is good in humanity and the beauty that we can create.  The arts are a shared experience, one that brings members of an audience together.  I would like to see an active arts council in every community.

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’m especially interested in working with our arts community to address the inequity that plagues our state.  I believe the arts are uniquely positioned to build mutual understanding, compassion, recognition of implicit bias and structural racism, and cultivate healing and reconciliation.  We need to integrate audiences and expand repertoires to include or be dedicated to the work of artists of color.

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 will support emergency funding for the arts industry and will be working with your organization to determine levels. I believe we need to find ways to also continue to perform and fund through revenue; the state can provide assistance with developing infrastructure to allow for more widespread online and safe in person performances and exhibitions in Connecticut, as well as marketing to enlist the public in paying membership fees or per performance fees to keep the arts going.

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.

Regional Partners

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