Candidate Questionnaire: Gary Turco


The pandemic has been challenging for so many in CT and in so many ways.

How have you personally benefitted from the arts or creative expression in the last few months? What local arts experiences have you missed most during the shutdown?

I have greatly missed the arts due to the shutdown of so many things due to COVID-19. I greatly enjoy our museums, theaters, and concerts halls throughout the state. The arts are an important part of our society and who we are as people in order to express ourselves.


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?

Investments need to be made to support our arts, the jobs they create, the industries they support, and the vibrancy they bring to our towns and cities. Due to Covid-19, it may take some creative approaches to allow exposure to our arts while keeping everyone safe.


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?

As was evident in example with the Broadway hit “Hamilton”, the arts has the ability to provide messages to uplift our community. People seek out the arts in times of healing and for times they are in need of hope.


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 help connect people and bring them together. The arts can help creatively approach and talk about topics otherwise difficult for many to confront. The arts can help create a safe zone.


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, the state will need to dedicate funds to keeping the arts alive. Perhaps we need to explore something similar to a passport to parks program to support our state’s parks and lands with a dedicated revenue stream.

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