- 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?
As a chef part of my job is creative expression. We do with food as some other artists do with canvas and sculpture. All of us in the culinary field feel as if we are part of the community of artists in some way. We creatively season, prepare and plate in an artistic way. I miss the theatre the most, my wife Michele and I are avid theater and live show patrons. We fully appreciate and take advantage of all the stage productions throughout Connecticut. From the Bushnell, Shubert, Warner, Seven angels to Curtin call in Stamford we go to all of them!
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?
The best way for arts to survive and thrive is for Connecticut to have a growing economy. It is important for our citizens to not be overburdened by taxation and regulation. Higher levels of disposable income would only help the arts community. If someone has to choose between survival and entertainment or the arts, survival will always win.
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 have been reading about the effects that art therapy has had on addiction recovery, I find this a very interesting topic and one the state should explore and possible dedicate resources to. Art is both communal and personal, I have found that many people look at, and gain perspective from the arts in a different way, some time from an individual perspective, wich I appreciate. The participation in the arts can also help communities, one of my favorite events as a representative is the Trumbull senior center art show, sounds funny but these folks are thriving being involed and expressing themselves.
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?
Got to be honest, I grew up lower middle class in Waterbury, fully integrated neighborhood and schools. We never really looked at things through the lens of race. My perspective is that our divides are economic. With some not being able to find opportunity and climb the economic ladder to improve there situation. I am a champion for opportunity and removing barriers to such.
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 the arts, think they are important and would support funding. Where and how much would have to be a source of discussion. I am open to the discussion and to hear all points of few. I agree that the arts a a generator of economic activity it is possible that the funds to support the arts can come as a dividend from the activity it creates. It is also true that the state needs to do a better job of how it manages it finances and what it should be involved in. Making government more responsive and sticking to its core mission may free up funds to spend on other import economic drivers such as arts and entertainment.
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.