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Find Your Elected Officials

Here are the members of the state Senate and House of Representatives working for our region in Hartford. Have you reached out to introduce yourself? 

Legislative Updates

Here are the key talking points we're reinforcing with our regional delegation: 

COVID Relief

  • The creative sector was quick to close and will likely be the last to fully re-open. We continue to maintain updated arts-based resources COVID-19 and Anti-Racism for our community. 
  • The Arts Council and the City of New Haven partnered to create the Greater NHV Creative Sector Relief Fund, supporting over 400 creatives with nearly $200K. We plan to relaunch in 2021 focusing on low-income Black, Brown, and Indigenous creatives.  
  • At the end of 2020, the Governor and DECD/CT Office of the Arts announced a $9 million COVID Relief Fund. Here are the organizations that received funding
  • The federal government authorized a new $15B relief fund called the Shuttered Venue Operators Grant. The application is not open, but here are the details.
  • We're also closely following the Put Creative Workers to Work proposal from Americans for the Arts and the Be An Arts Hero campaign. 

State Budget Issue

  • State funding for the arts is supported by lodging/occupancy tax revenue deposited into the Tourism Fund. A recent OPM report details the gap in this fund due to the pandemic:
    • The fund’s revenue source is the Hotel Occupancy Tax, which has underperformed as a result of the pandemic’s impact on the hospitality industry. As a result, expenditures from the fund are estimated to exceed available revenues by approximately $6.9 million. When added to the negative fund balance of $6.9 million at the end of FY 2020, we anticipate the Tourism Fund will end FY 2021 with a $13.8 million negative fund balance.
  • Here's an outline of our legislative proposal from the last biennium. This provides a clear overview of how the fund works to consider options for maintaining critical public support for our industry. For example, a portion of proceeds from other state taxes could be allocated to the Tourism Fund - new sin taxes from online gaming, sports betting, and marijuana sales or related revenue streams like admissions tax ($40M annually) and tourism tax ($0.5M annually) 

Key Issues

  • This recent study about CT's digital divide explains this urgency and injustice in our region, making it challenging for arts and educational organizations to reach students and families in low-income or rural communities with their virtual programs. 
  • All of the regional arts councils in CT are participating in the Cultural Equity Learning Community, an anti-racism learning program based out of MA with nearly 1,000 participants across the country. We're hopeful about organizing more artists, volunteers, and organization leaders into their next cohort in 2021.  
  • Reducing the cost of health insurance for arts workers is another critical opportunity to support our sector, particularly as arts organizations rebuild and restaff their institutions in the coming months. 
  • The vibrancy of our downtowns and main streets depends on more than just the arts. Our restaurant industry partners are particularly struggling as cold weather set in, so we're hopeful that they will receive the support they need to survive this phase of the pandemic. 
  • CT is now also grappling with a rise in substance-use disorders and the latest report from the National Endowment for the Arts proves the power of the arts in the fight against opioid abuse. 
  • This guide, Art Became the Oxygen, remains vital in helping communities harness the power of the arts for recovering and healing from tragedy, like the devasting impacts of this pandemic.

 

 
 

Bill Tracking

With our policy framework in mind, here are the bills that the Arts Council is watching. Bold indicates top priorities. 

 

Get Involved

Become a member of the Arts Council - it's free! - to receive regular advocacy alerts.

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Why are the arts critical right now?

  • 💸 ARTS DRIVE ECONOMIC RECOVERY: Connecticut’s non-profit creative sector supports 23,000 jobs and generates $800 million annually
  • 💔 ARTS HEAL + REBUILD: Creativity helps us process impact and loss, build and rebuild vibrant and resilient communities, and attract new residents, businesses, and visitors
  • ✊ ARTS SUPPORT RACIAL & SOCIAL JUSTICE: Embracing the diversity of our cultures and experiences is at the heart of the arts and the fight for justice
  • 🚨 ARTS NEED HELP: With 62% of artists unemployed and most arts organizations unable to reopen until 2021, the industry needs emergency support to thrive

 

 

Create the Vote 2020 Candidate Forum

We hosted a virtual forum in partnership with the Greater Hartford Arts Council in October.