Connecticut Commission on the Arts
At a Glance
DOUGLAS C. EVANS, Executive Director
Established - 1965
Statutory authority Ė CGS Chapter 181
Central office - 755 Main Street, One Financial Plaza,
Hartford, CT 06103
Number of employees - 7
Recurring operating expenses - $657,650
Organizational structure - Appointed Commission members and professional staff
Recognizing the essential value of the arts and artists in the cultural, educational, social, and economic vitality of Connecticut, the Connecticut Commission on the Arts supports artistic excellence and fosters cultural development through the arts; and increases public understanding of, participation in, and support for the arts in Connecticut.
†††† Commission on the Arts programs continued to successfully aid the development of Connecticutís arts industry; facilitate the creation and presentation of artistsí work; advance the arts as an essential element of schooling and life-long learning; broaden, deepen, and diversify public participation in the arts throughout the state, and raise the publicís awareness and understanding of the arts.
†††† In fiscal year 2003:
∑ The Commission engaged over 450 people in creating its 2003-2006 strategic plan.† Many new agency developments are a direct response to constituent input in the strategic planning process in 2002.† These include: Organizational Support Program (General Operating Support and Project grants) replacing Organization Challenge grants; greater emphasis on professional development and technical assistance; enhanced use of technology and online tools; and streamlining grantmaking policies, criteria, and process.
∑ The Organization Challenge Grant Program provided matching grants to 120 Connecticut non-profit organizations to conduct cultural programs that foster artistic development, broaden public participation in the arts and expand the role of the arts in education.
∑ Artist Fellowships were awarded to 28 of the stateís finest artists working in the disciplines of choreography, poetry, playwriting, fiction, composition and film/video. Funds are used to support artistsí career development and enable them to devote time to the creation of new works.
∑ Arts Presentation Grants, designed to broaden access to the arts, were awarded to 78 schools and non-profit organizations.† These groups presented performances, classroom residencies and workshops conducted by members of the Commissionís Performing Artists and Master Teaching Artists Directory.
∑ Interest earnings from the Connecticut Arts Endowment Fund were distributed among 78 state cultural organizations in 33 towns. The Fund was established by the Legislature to stimulate and encourage the development of private sector funding resources and ensure the long-term stability of Connecticut's arts industry.
∑ An Elizabeth Mahaffey Arts Administration Fellowship to recognize a Connecticut arts administrator of exceptional accomplishment was awarded to Pamela Tatge of the Center for the Arts at Wesleyan.
∑ The Urban Artists Initiative continued to provide urban-based artists and organizations with the tools to professionally thrive and enrich the cultural life of their communities. The program served Southeastern Connecticut for the second year, providing 54 participants with professional development training over a 16-week period. Additionally, 43 participants were matched with mentors for a six-month period.
∑ The Commission received a State Arts Partnerships for Cultural Participation grant from the Wallace Foundation to assist arts organizations in developing institutional strategies for enhancing arts participation and building audiences.
∑ Twenty-four schools serving 12,500 students participated in the Commissionís HOT Schools„ Program, an innovative educational model that promotes learning in, about and through the arts in a democratic setting. The agency sponsored a week-long HOT Schools Summer Institute where over 200 educators learned effective techniques and innovative strategies for teaching through the arts while artists worked with schools to develop curriculum-integrated residencies.
∑ The Commission received federal monies from the Connecticut Department of Social Services and awarded 19 grants to support arts programs during non-school hours for underserved middle and high-school youth.† As part of this Youth Arts Program, the Commission offered pre-application and grantee training on positive youth development and youth-adult partnerships.
∑ The Commission received funding through the State Department of Educationís Interdistrict Grant Program to conduct the Cultural Tapestries Project. Schools in six towns participated in the project, designed to improve studentsí cultural literacy, a key workforce skill for the 21st century.
∑ Despite the loss of the agencyís communications specialist, the Commission maintained the Internet website which continued to be a cost-effective means of disseminating information.† In addition, with the assistance of the webmaster at the Department of Administrative Services, the Commission initiated the use of online tools for program registrations and evaluations with much success.
∑ Connecticut Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts provided a variety of free legal services to qualified non-profit arts organizations and artists. A law intern handled 70 requests for information.† The Commission circulated and disseminated two legal guides, Contract and Copyright, and is finalizing preparation of the 3rd guide, Non-Profit Organizations.
∑ Ten major new public artworks were installed at state government building sites as part of the Art in Public Spaces program.† Thirty-two additional projects proceeded through various stages of development during the year.
∑ Seven exhibitions featuring artwork by Artist Fellowship recipients were held at the Commissionís Art Gallery, located at the agencyís downtown Hartford office.† Five exhibitions of work by Connecticut artists were presented in the Visual Arts Showcases at Bradley Airport.
∑ The Visual Arts Slide Bank, a library of images of works by over 2,000 visual artists and craftspeople from Connecticut and across the nation, served as a resource for public art projects, and for people seeking to commission, exhibit or purchase artwork.
∑ The Commission expanded use of the media to enhance public awareness of the arts.† This included Cultural Gems, weekly radio segments aired twice on WNPR; weekly updates on the Brad Davis show; and a partnership with CPTV on Culture Connect, an online cultural events calendar.†
∑ Arts Day at the Capitol was expanded to Arts Week in March with local communities celebrating the arts throughout the state.† Over 180 arts advocates attended Arts Day at the Capitol to express to lawmakers the critical need for public funding of the arts.† Activities included information sessions, performances and the presentation of Distinguished Advocates for the Arts Awards to 19 individuals in recognition of their efforts to foster cultural development and support for the arts.
∑ Governorís Arts Awards were presented in June to CONCORA (Connecticut Choral Artists); Grumbling Gryphons Traveling Childrenís Theatre; playwright Donald Margulies; fiber artist Ed Johnetta Miller, and actor James Naughton.