Today: May 29, 2024

Cutting Connecticut art funds has consequences

 STEPHAN SHYMANSKY Staff Writer

Gov. Malloy most recently unveiled a proposal to cut over $11 million in arts funding in and around the state of Connecticut to go into effect on July 1. Many of the programs that would be affected would lose their state funding come the middle of the year, and leaders in the arts community were shocked by the news.

Art organizations such as the Connecticut Humanities Council, New Haven Festival of Arts and Ideas, Connecticut Science Center, Mystic Aquarium, Maritime Center, Beardsley Zoo, and the Mark Twain House were among some of those that would receive cuts in art funding from the state. The proposal allows for the art groups to compete for funding from a state fund, but the details about how this process would work are still unclear. The Department of Economic and Community Development has gone on to say that the state is “moving away from an earmarked, line item by line item grant” for the arts. In turn the state is looking to increase money for tourism by about $25 million.

I question this proposal namely on one main issue. If cuts begin to be made specifically in art programs, mind you, programs that many may visit when visiting the state, what happens to the quality of these programs? If money is poured into tourism via advertising and depicting Connecticut as a place to visit yet all of our art and historical attractions’ budgets are cut, what in turn happens? Do the art/historical organizations decline? Does tourism increase?

We start problem number one with cutting arts funding. Would quality in the arts in the state decline due to these cuts? We start problem number two in beginning a tourism project. Don’t get me wrong, creating a tourism project would be beneficial for the state. However, if the quality in the arts/historical organizations in the state suffer, we would be relying heavily upon the tourism business to be successful for the state to keep these organizations flourishing.

The question is, what new ideas does the state have in order to drive tourism, and would it be successful? Furthermore, the state is rich with art and history and always has been. Do we risk letting these wonderful programs fall by the wayside? Ultimately, if these proposal cuts are absolutely necessary, where is the $11 million being applied to?

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