Candidate Questionnaire: Ron Napoli, Jr.

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?

Supporting the arts is and will continue to be very important to my legislative priorities this session. I could not think of a more important moment in my life when the arts need to be supported. In dealing with a statewide lockdown, I can tell you that in difficult moments theater and classical novels inspired us that better days would return. I certainly miss some of the local performances by Shakesparience, shows at the Palace Theater and plays performed by our public school students in Waterbury. Finally for three years I was the lead teacher in an afterschool program called Teen Idol with WATR’s Tom Chute and others. I observed first hand the positive impact the arts have on our students and I will continue to advocate that Waterbury receives its fair share of funding.

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?

Yes! As mentioned above I have witnessed the positive impact that arts and cultural opportunities have on our students. In order of urban areas like Waterbury to move forward, we must continue to provide these opportunities to our students.

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?

Offering people the opportunity to visit a museum, observe a play or concert in their local neighborhood  park, and helping the future performers get the skills they need to follow their dreams is very important.

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 think art and culture brings people together to share their unique differences and talents. President Clinton once said “Our strength is our diversity” and the more we all have the ability to recognize that our society will be a better place.

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?

Because of COVID19 we are facing almost a $2 billion shortfall this fiscal year. This is something that we must address very soon. However even with these challenges, we need to find a way to continue to support the arts. I’m not sure the exact level of funding because we need to know precisely what the budget shortfall numbers are.

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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