Candidate Questionnaire: Martin Looney

Candidate for Senate in District 11 (Hamden, New Haven, North Haven), 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?

I have benefited by reading classically artistic poetry, fiction and drama; Shakespeare, Shaw, O’Casey, Yeats, Heaney, Camus, Sartre.  I have most missed performances at the Long Wharf Theater, the Yale Rep, the Hartford Stage and Theater Works.

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 will take advantage of the public platform to highlight both the cultural and economic significance of the arts and to advocate for enhanced public funding and philanthropic support.

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?

An important role for the arts and culture in healing and rebuilding our social fabric is to promote communal experiences that foster a sense of belonging and combat alienation and estrangement.

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?

The arts can build racial and social justice by creatively underscoring the universality of human experience as a way to transcend social barriers without being didactic or doctrinaire.

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 will propose both increased direct state appropriations to sustain employment in the arts and to meet production costs and also will propose enhanced bonding grants to improve and renovate arts and cultural facilities where needed.  Presentations at public hearings will establish appropriate levels in both categories of funding.

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