Candidate Questionnaire: Noel Rodriquez


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?

In the past few months, I traveled to Hartford to view the Black Lives Matter mural. The mural showed creative expression from local artists. To understand why people are divided on the subject of BLM, I think creative expression can help us learn from each other. Hands down, I miss the Warner Theater. COVID-19 has changed social life. 


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 can’t value the arts and economic recovery in Connecticut without valuing the arts across the board. In schools, the arts are not considered a core subject. In our economy, artists largely are considered gig workers.  To harness the power of the arts for CT’s economic recovery I would fight for the same protections and advantages given to ordinary workers. 


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 and culture play the important role of bringing people together. I think we need this more now than ever before. Our cities and towns are divided and this division continues. We could all benefit from the arts.


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?

Yes! The arts can facilitate conversations. When I visited Hartford I asked myself the importance of painting a mural on the street. In asking this question, I talked to many artists and young people who had a lot to say that I would never converse with otherwise. 


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?

Yes! When we look at the past 20 years, our state budget has diverted almost $4 billion from the General Fund to the Special Transportation Fund. These diverted funds were supposed to be used to help local towns, nonprofits and education. We need to put an end to swindling our community so we can support our local economies including the arts.  

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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