Thursday, March 3, 2016

For the first time in a decade, Connecticut Arts Advocates gathered in their state capitol on March 3rd for Connecticut Arts Day…and they really delivered! The theme for the 350-person standing room only gathering was “Moving the Arts from Nice to Necessary.” Organized by the Connecticut Office of Culture, which is in the Economic and Community Development Division, arts advocates literally took over the first floor of the capitol.

The day started off with Lt. Governor Nancy Wyman welcoming the attendees. She credited Americans for the Arts, through its work with the National Lt. Governors Association (NLGA), for educating her about STEAM and how she is now a firm supporter of STEAM programs. She went on to talk about the economic impact of the arts and read a proclamation declaring the day Arts and Culture Day in Connecticut. Wyman was followed by remarks from State Senator Bob Duff, the Senate Majority Leader; and State Senator Tony Hwang, the Assistant Minority Leader; along with several other elected officials.    

Jay Dick, Americans for the Arts Senior Director of State and Local Government Affairs, spoke to the attendees on the economic value of the arts and how the arts are making an impact in healthcare and with our returning veterans. “I was very impressed not only with the number of attendees, but their passion and dedication to making Connecticut a better place to live, work and play through the arts” said Jay.  “Attendees came from all corners of Connecticut, from organizations large and small, urban and rural to educate their elected officials about the importance of the arts to their communities.”  

The Connecticut Arts Alliance, a partner organization for Arts Day, led several sessions and promoted the need for year round arts advocacy.  Unfortunately, Connecticut faces a budget deficit and thus, arts advocates have an uphill battle to educate and inform elected officials to not cut the arts and culture.