Candidate Questionnaire: Rob Sampson


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?

I am frequent visitor to Connecticut’s many outstanding art museums – Wadsworth, Yale, New Britain in particular.  I also frequent Woolsey Hall for live performances of classical music and love the theatre.  I am a loyal follower of YRT and have been to many of their performances.  I have missed all of these enjoyable experiences very much in recent months.


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? 

I believe strongly in promoting our amazing arts and culture opportunities in Connecticut.  This is a huge and valuable resource that we have in our state, unlike any other.  This should be utilized to expand tourism, and leverage investment in our cities – most definitely in cooperation with our universities.


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 believe arts and culture can be used to bridge gaps and build respect among people of different backgrounds, as long as it is designed to do so.


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?

Let’s talk about respect for differences instead of “justice” which to many is sadly a synonym for “retribution.”  Those terms are dog whistles to the left but the associated policies are often an anathema to any sort of equality or open-mindedness.  The arts community would do well to begin adopting a more tolerant approach to non-progressives. 


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 do not believe that state taxpayers should be responsible to support the arts Industry In our state.  Institutions of Higher Education are the main driver of the arts and should be. 

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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