1. YOUR PERSONAL CONNECTION
What personal experience with arts, culture, or creativity has had an impact on your life and your view of New Haven?
New Haven is the arts and creative capital of Connecticut. Our city is made more dynamic, diverse, and successful because of the flourishing arts culture. I believe, as well, that supporting the arts has a direct and meaningful social justice impact for our residents. New Haveners are able to find creative cultural expression in our city regardless of who they are, where they come from, or what their background is. Arts and culture builds community for our residents, and draws other people to New Haven to experience all that our city has to offer.
2. SOCIAL JUSTICE + THE ARTS
New Haven was recently celebrated as the most demographically similar to the United States overall, yet longstanding racial and economic divides limit opportunities for affordable housing, high-quality education, and reliable employment. How will you utilize artists and creative organizations to help create change for these and other social justice issues?
I think, first and foremost, that a vibrant arts culture brings social justice issues to the fore. Art has long been an outlet of expression for the oppressed and marginalized, and gives a medium to convey their lived experience to those who haven’t lived it. A strong patronage of the arts gives even marginalized people the opportunity to support themselves while creating art, and ensures that creativity isn’t stewarded only by the affluent. In order to create meaningful, high impact change, we must ensure that everyone understands one another and the struggles people are facing, and I believe the arts are a critical way to achieve that understanding.
3. CREATIVITY + YOUTH DEVELOPMENT
Art instruction increases achievement across all academic disciples and develops the whole child. How will you champion arts education with our youth during and after school?
My administration is moving to establish Saturday academies and 7 to 6 school days to offer children more time for educational enrichment. I believe that, with more classroom time dedicated to all subject matter, including the arts, our students will be much more well rounded. I also believe that the City must continue to support arts and cultural events outside of the school system so that students and their families can be exposed to a broad variety of cultural expression.
4. ECONOMIC GROWTH + THE CREATIVE SECTOR
The New Haven region’s non-profit arts and cultural organizations boasts 5,700 full-time jobs and produces $135 million in direct economic activity annually. How will you capitalize on the strength of the creative sector in your economic development planning?
Ensuring that space is available for up and coming artists at affordable rates is critical to maintaining the dynamic arts culture in our city. Offering up public spaces to display or express arts and culture and working with organizers to support arts themed events is essential to expanding the already significant economic impact of the arts.
5. FUNDING THE ARTS
The City recently allocated $100,000 to arts projects through the Mayor's Neighborhood Cultural Vitality Grant Program. Will you continue to fund this and other initiatives of the Arts, Culture, and Tourism Division?
Absolutely yes. I’m proud to have been able to support the arts as your Mayor since 2013, and I’ll be proud to continue to do so for another 2 year term.
6. PROMOTING CT’s CREATIVE CAPITAL
While New Haven is undoubtedly the creative capital of Connecticut, the City itself has yet to fully leverage the strength of our creative community as a means for branding and marketing. How would you utilize the arts to promote our City as a destination to live, work, play, and visit?
An important component that I believe is missing is an incorporation of New Haven’s status as Connecticut’s cultural capital in state tourism marketing. I will continue to partner with our legislative delegation and state leadership to ensure that any State tourism marketing and branding emphasizes New Haven as a cultural capital. I also believe that a partnership with Yale University to market New Haven arts would be fruitful as an alternative funding source for marketing and branding.
7. YOUR CREATIVE PRIORITIES
The start of a mayor’s tenure will set your administration’s tone and priorities. When elected, what actions will you take in your first 100 days to support the creative community?
New Haven is a musical city with many outstanding choirs and religious singing groups. In the first 100 days of my next term of office I will work with a music festival task force to plan a music festival on the New Haven Green for the end of August 2020. The festival will be a competition with many choirs and acapella groups from across the city and potentially the region competing for prizes such as a key to the city for the first place team. Depending on the size of the event, I would commit funds from the Mayor’s Endowment for prizes.