Candidate for House of Representatives in District 58 (Enfield), Democrat
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 benefitted from the arts or creative expression in the last few months? What local arts experiences have you missed most during the shutdown?
Virtual choirs have been an inspiration. Outdoor music festivals, craft fairs, art shows, culture festivals.
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?
I am committed to helping the arts recover. As a legislator, I will support increased funding toward recovery.
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?
On a local level I was a part of our Culture and Arts Commission and developed a history tour of Enfield. Tours like this provide people with a look at different races and cultures and the roll they played in their towns. I’m a true believer in youth being exposed to new ideas through modern literature and plays.
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?
Yes, throughout history the arts have played the roll of story teller. People seem to learn more from a book or a poem or through plays and movies than they learn in day to day experiences. We need to start with youth and the arts, as long as we only allow out dated plays in our schools that children can’t relate too we will have a generation of children that don’t appreciate performing arts.
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?
The legislature needs to find emergency funding through federal emergency funding, the state budget and bonds. I would fully fund this effort it’s that important. Legislators should use bonds to fund local 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.