Imperative for Continued Office of the Arts Leadership

There has been some confusion and misinformation this week about the recently announced job posting for an Arts and Culture Administrator at the Department of Economic and Community Development (DECD). The Connecticut Arts Alliance, a non-profit advocacy organization led by artists, educators, and arts executives from all over our state, would like to clarify some details about this position and its importance to the creative sector in our state.

Up until a year ago, the person in this position had been appointed by the Governor, which has historically created inconsistencies with each selection or change of administration and politicization of the position. DECD corrected this problem last year by classifying (making permanent) the position with a clear job description and specific qualifications to oversee the Office of the Arts and State Historic Preservation Office. Kristina Newman-Scott, originally appointed by Governor Malloy in 2015 and often referred to as the Director of Culture, was hired for this permanent position.

DECD is simply rehiring for this job, which has been vacant since early summer when Newman-Scott left the position, as they would for any other vacancy in the department. This is not a political appointment and the job has specific criteria, which is why they are conducting a national search to secure the very best applicants to serve our state.

The Connecticut Arts Alliance has worked with many different leaders at DECD’s Office of the Arts over the last 15 years. During that time, the state arts agency has been periodically stalled from realizing its full potential for both the state and for the arts sector because of the frequent changes in leadership and inconsistent knowledge of and experience in the cultural sector. We need to maintain the status of this leadership position to ensure that our relationships with the federal government and many other state and local partners continue unimpeded, as well as to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the agency.

This position is dedicated to the long term, rather than the duration of a political appointment. At long last, Connecticut can have consistent cultural leadership with the required expertise to carry forward strategic initiatives and reinforce the agency’s very capable team. With this position in place, we now suffer fewer unnecessary delays in the progress and impact that the Office of the Arts could have for the state. Having this leadership position filled as a permanent, classified post will stop the practice of unintentional derailment of the agency by political appointees who do not have the experience or expertise or the commitment to the long-term.

For those who wonder—why does this position exist at all? If you are an artist, involved with an arts or cultural organization, or enjoy experiencing creative events in your community, then you know the importance of the Director of Culture to oversee our industry in state government and harness the power of the arts to educate the next generation, build vibrant communities, and attract and retain employers and residents.

If you are not a believer, then consider first that the nonprofits arts and cultural sector in Connecticut is an $800 million industry that supports over 23,000 jobs statewide. Next, this position for the Office of the Arts, together with those of Historic Preservation and the four museums, manages millions in federal and state funding and has critical oversight and responsibility for regulatory functions. This position leverages nearly $1 million in matching grants from the National Endowment for the Arts for statewide grantmaking and programs, which are guided by a formal strategic plan. Overall, strong leadership at the Office of the Arts helps to catalyze investment from the business and donor community, promote collaboration with other areas of government, particularly education and tourism, and ensure accountability and efficiency.

With the facts about and importance of this position now clear, the Connecticut Arts Alliance hopes that DECD will secure the best candidate possible as soon as possible for our next Director of Culture. It is important to maintain consistency in a sector that is one of Connecticut’s strengths and a solution to—not part of—Connecticut’s economic problems. Let’s not re-break what has already been fixed.

Candidates Agree that Arts are a Solution for Our Cities

Solution for Cities

Over the past months, we’ve collected responses to six questions about arts and culture from each of the gubernatorial candidates.

In the next weeks, we’re going to focus on the candidates’ responses to specific questions. This week, we spotlight the candidates’ solutions for creating vibrant cities that will attract and retain talent.


CTV: As governor, how would you recognize the importance of arts and culture in economic development and the revitalization of our cities?

LAMONT: The creative economy is booming around the nation. Recognizing the importance of the arts to economic development will be an important element of my administration. Specifically, I will be a partner to our urban and rural communities in creating alternative funding streams for the arts. I would seek to replicate, in our Connecticut context, the example of the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art (MASS MoCA) in North Adams. Once a thriving electronics manufacturer, the plant closure in the 1980s decimated the community. Today, the once-vacant 16-acre factory not only hosts massive art installations, but also supports local small businesses and industry by renting out space and hosting events. It’s this kind of diverse economic activity that has the potential to revitalize our own communities and build livable cities, and the arts will be a critical piece of my revitalization and economic development strategy.

STEFANOWSKI: As governor, I would like to visit towns and learn first hand how they successfully incorporated art and culture into their economic development plans and apply it statewide. The state needs to help market all the talent and diversity not only to increase tourism, but to make CT attractive for people to move into, and high tech jobs to invest in.

GRIEBEL: I reference my response to the prior question to illustrate my understanding, based on the past 25 years, of the importance of arts and culture to economic development, job retention and growth, and revitalizing our cities. I also note the key principle of the Griebel-Frank Administration that each of our fiscal and public policy decisions will be evaluated through the prism of whether the decision will enhance Connecticut’s ability to secure 200,000 net new private sector jobs by 2028.


CTV: How do you see the role of arts and culture in Connecticut’s effort to attract and retain a talented workforce?

LAMONT: After GE left Connecticut I lead a group that was tasked with asking and answering the question: why? GE talked about our crumbling infrastructure, but they also talked about the difficulty in attracting young talent to their suburban campus. They said they could have better attracted these young people by having more of a presence in our urban communities because many young people want to live in vibrant cities. Part of what makes for a vibrant, livable city is a thriving arts community. Thriving arts that contribute to vibrant cities are key to attracting and keeping a talented young workforce, and thus are key to attracting and keeping all kinds of businesses and industries to Connecticut.

STEFANOWSKI: I believe today’s workforce is more diversified and interested in the arts and culture and chose to live in communities and states that can offer them those choices. Therefore the more art and culture that is generated in our state, the better prepared we are to attract such talented workforce.

GRIEBEL: It goes without saying that arts and culture organizations generate excitement and creative energy, the keys to vibrant cities which in turn are critical to retaining and attracting a talented workforce. Our Administration will work with the Mayors of our major urban centers and with the leaders of our arts and culture organizations to determine the most comprehensive and coordinated approach to using the latter to strengthen the former.


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.

Click to read the complete responses from Ned Lamont, Oz Griebel, and Bob Stefanowski. Lamont has also published an additional policy statement on Investing in Arts and Culture. Griebel has published a Policy Plan that includes statements on Arts, Culture and Tourism.

Arts and the State Budget

Arts MatterWith a state budget still not passed in Connecticut, arts organizations—along with all other businesses and economic sectors—face uncertain financial futures. A survey conducted among nonprofit arts organizations and arts providers in September indicated that the delay in passing a state budget had already affected over 58% of respondents, primarily in requiring programming cuts. Other negative effects were payroll cuts, hiring freezes, reduction in operating hours, nonpayment of accounts payable, lack of booking arts education programs and performances through schools, and massive efforts to replace state dollars with private funding. Over 66% of respondents believed that further delay in passing a budget would cause additional hardships, with the most extreme fear being a forced closure.

As we continue to wait for a state budget, it is important to stress the economic necessity of arts funding—which represents only 0.02% of that budget—to our legislators. The following two messages must be our priority.

  • In order for Connecticut not to completely disqualify itself from receiving federal NEA matching funds, the state budget MUST have at least $1 million in designated arts funds sourced through the General Fund, and not through a fund that is controlled only by revenues generated by the hotel tax, as is currently proposed. Current budget proposals will disqualify Connecticut from receiving matching NEA funding.
  • In order to maintain, an already bare bones nonprofit cultural sector that has proven to be a sound and dependable return on investment, the arts need to receive at least $5 million in additional funding from the newly proposed Marketing, Culture and Tourism Account. That is what will allow the arts sector to continue to generate state and local revenues and make our state a great place to live, work, and play.

Connecticut’s nonprofit arts and culture industry generates $797.25 million in annual economic activity in the state of Connecticut, supporting over 23,000 full-time equivalent jobs and generating $72.27 million in local and state government revenues, according to the Arts & Economic Prosperity 5 national economic impact study conducted by Americans for the Arts.

Please keep these facts in mind and, arts organizations and supporters, please continue to share them with your legislators and stress the importance of keeping the arts alive in our great state!

Connecticut Arts Generate $797.3 Million in Economic Activity

AEP5-graphic_titleAs Connecticut’s leaders debated the fate of the state’s budget, the Connecticut Arts Alliance drew attention to recently released economic impact data. According to the Arts & Economic Prosperity 5 study, conducted by Americans for the Arts, Connecticut’s nonprofit arts and culture industry generates $797.3 million in annual economic activity in the state, supporting over 23,000 full-time equivalent jobs and generating $72.3 million in local and state government revenues. The most comprehensive economic impact study of the nonprofit arts and culture industry ever conducted in the United States, Arts & Economic Prosperity 5 was conducted by Americans for the Arts, the nation’s leading nonprofit organization for advancing the arts and arts education.

Results show that nonprofit arts and culture organizations in Connecticut spent over $515 million during 2015. This spending is far-reaching: organizations pay employees, purchase supplies, contract for services, and acquire assets within their community. Those dollars, in turn, generated nearly $525 million in household income for local residents and $72.3 million in local and state government revenues.

“Arts and culture is an economic engine that clearly provides ‘food on the table’ for many who work in the sector and those who work in the many industries that are supported by the sector,” stated Amy Wynn, president of the Connecticut Arts Alliance, the state-wide arts advocacy organization for Connecticut. “The data proves that our sector provides a solid return on investment as far as state arts funding, resulting in state and local revenues that are so important to Connecticut now and in the future. The arts sector is an accessible and cost-effective asset that connects, collaborates and impacts other sectors such as healthcare, public safety, education, social services, innovation in business, manufacturing and science, and much more,” she added.

“The arts are a fundamental component of a thriving economy. From a numbers perspective the arts generate jobs, cultural tourism, and economic impact. Less quantifiable but equally as valuable: art helps to create community identity and vibrancy, and is critical to attracting and retaining an innovative workforce,” said Kristina Newman-Scott, Director of Culture of Connecticut Office of the ArtsDepartment of Economic and Community Development. “I believe we have an enormous responsibility to the creators and consumers in the state to protect the legacy of the arts in Connecticut and help foster growth in the creative economy,” she added.

Arts Industry Boon for Local Businesses

In addition to spending by organizations, the nonprofit arts and culture industry nationally leverages $102.5 billion in event-related spending by local and out-of-state audiences.  As a result of attending a cultural event, attendees often eat dinner in local restaurants, pay for parking, buy gifts and souvenirs, and pay a babysitter. What’s more, attendees from out-of-town often stay overnight in a local hotel.  Nationally, event attendees spend an average of $31.47 on event-related expenses, and that does not include the price of a ticket.  In Connecticut, the figure is $27.70 per event attendee, with residents spending $23.78 on average and visitors spending 53% more than residents – $49.78 per event attendee. In Connecticut, 69% of visitors come for arts and cultural offerings.

Economic Impact One-Page Summaries

  • State of Connecticut: PDF
  • Middlesex County: PDF
  • Southeastern Connecticut: PDF
  • Fairfield County: PDF
  • Northwest Connecticut Region: PDF
  • Greater New Haven County: PDF

The National Picture

  • Nationwide, the Arts & Economic Prosperity 5 reveals that the nonprofit arts industry produces $166.3 billion in economic activity
  • in 2015, resulting in $27.5 billion in federal, state and local tax revenues. In addition, it supports 4.6 million full-time equivalent jobs and generates $96.07 billion in household income.
  • “This study demonstrates that the arts are an economic and employment powerhouse both locally and across the nation,” said Robert L. Lynch, president and CEO of Americans for the Arts. “A vibrant arts and culture industry helps local businesses thrive and helps local communities become stronger and healthier places to live. Leaders who care about community and economic vitality can feel good about choosing to invest in the arts. Nationally as well as locally, the arts mean business.”
  • The Arts & Economic Prosperity 5 study was conducted by Americans for the Arts and supported by The Ruth Lilly Fund of Americans for the Arts. Americans for the Arts’ local, regional, and statewide project partners contributed both time and financial support to the study. Financial information from organizations was collected in partnership with DataArts™, using a new online survey interface. For a full list of the communities who participated in the Arts & Economic Prosperity 5 study, visit www.AmericansForTheArts.org/AEP5Partners.

48-Hour Advocacy Push to Save the State Arts Budget!

Join the Connecticut Arts Alliance in an important 48-hour advocacy push on June 5 and 6 in support of continued State arts funding. Please do what you can to take part, and please share this with other friends and supporters of the arts, encouraging them to participate too. Easy-to-follow instructions and a unified message appear below.

THE PLAN:
The budget process is no small challenge, but we cannot keep quiet for fear of very real damage to the arts sector in Connecticut.

CALL TO ACTION:
Please help the voice of the arts be heard by getting the message below to both the State’s Administration and the Legislature.

WHEN:
Please take this specific action during the 48 HOURS of June 5 & 6, 2017.

WHO:
For your convenience, a list of legislative and administrative leaders appears at the bottom of this message, along with their contact information.

CAA_CTArtsMatter (revised)

PLEASE GET THIS MESSAGE TO STATE GOVERNMENT LEADERS:

CT Arts Matter!

  • The CT FY18 & FY19 budgets MUST INCLUDE funding for the ARTS COMMISSION (the Connecticut Office of the Arts).

Without this funding, Connecticut will:

  • lose valued Federal Matching Funds
  • lose much needed state revenue

We ask that you:

  • Fund the State “Arts Commission” line (Connecticut Office of the Arts) which leverages vital Federal NEA (National Endowment for the Arts) matching funds.
  • Support maintaining total arts funding of $5,183,087 (less than 0.02% of the proposed budget)

And keep in mind:

  • For every State dollar invested in the Arts, $7 in state revenue is generated. The arts are good for Connecticut’s economy!
  • The arts sector employed over 57,000 people in the arts and cultural industries in 2014, which represented 3.4% of all employment in the state.  The arts industry led utilities and transportation in both compensation and employment.

Thank you for your consideration!

More information on the advocacy positions of the Connecticut Arts Alliance is on its website HERE.

More information on the impact of the arts on the economy is on the Office of the Arts website HERE.

PLEASE EMAIL OR CALL 4 OR MORE OF THOSE LISTED BELOW:

EXECUTIVE BRANCH

Governor Malloy   governor.malloy@ct.gov   860-566-4840
Lt. Governor Nancy Wyman   ltgovernor.wyman@ct.gov   860-524-7384
DECD Commissioner Catherine Smith   Catherine.Smith@ct.gov

AND LEGISLATIVE LEADERSHIP

Sen. Len Fasano   Len.Fasano@cga.ct.gov   860-240-8871
Sen. Martin Looney   Looney@senatedems.ct.gov   860-240-0375
Sen. Paul Formica   paul.formica@cga.ct.gov   860-240-8371
Sen. Cathy Osten   Catherine.Osten@cga.ct.gov   860-240-0579
Rep. Toni Walker   toni.walker@cga.ct.gov   860-240-8585
Sen. Joan Hartley   hartley@senatedems.ct.gov   860-240-0006
Sen. Craig Miner   Craig.Miner@cga.ct.gov   860-240-8816
Rep. Henry Genga   henry.genga@cga.ct.gov   860-240-8585
Rep. Ezequiel Santiago   ezequiel.santiago@cga.ct.gov   860-240-8585
Rep. Chris Soto   Chris.Soto@cga.ct.gov   860-240-8585
Rep. Melissa Ziobron   Melissa.Ziobron@housegop.ct.gov   860-240-8700

AND FIND YOUR OWN LEGISLATORS HERE!