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Arts Lifestyle Opinion Reader Contributed

Op Ed: The Arts Are Essential. And They Need Our Help

The arts sector has a long road to recovery and the Greater Hartford Arts Council is hoping the community will find ways to offer advocacy as well as support so arts organizations and artists can continue to exist and thrive for years to come.

Submitted by the Greater Hartford Arts Council

In March 2020, the City of Hartford asked the Greater Hartford Arts Council to survey a number of local arts organizations about how they were faring at the beginning of the pandemic. That quick snapshot of about 14 organizations showed striking results – these organizations were projecting losses totaling $2.1 million after just 30 days. And that was only a fraction of all of the organizations our region has to offer.

We are now almost a year into the pandemic that has changed our lives forever. While we’re lucky to have been able to provide funding and support to artists and organizations across the region, there is still so much work to be done. With entire theater seasons lost, museums closed for months on end, and educational programs postponed indefinitely, this is time, and revenue, that arts organizations will never get back. At the same time, musicians and artists whose livelihoods depend on performing, sharing their talents, teaching, and collaborating saw their income stream disappear overnight. Like so many others, they need our help.

We hope you will consider supporting the arts so that our community’s theaters, museums, dance programs, musicians and more will all be here when this pandemic is over. The arts are vital to our health, they help us build resilience and provide solitude and comfort. All things so desperately needed right now.

The arts are also vital to our state’s economy. The arts and culture sector represents 3.5% of Connecticut’s economy and generates $9 billion annually. The sector also supports about 59,000 jobs. But the sector has a long road to recovery and it is going to take all of us coming together to ensure the arts thrive right now and for years to come. On the national level, #SaveOurStages is an initiative by artists and arts administrators asking Congress to preserve and nurture the ecosystem of performing arts venues, a few of which we have right here in Greater Hartford.

Giving to the arts now is a jumpstart for the region’s creative economy. Not only do we need the arts right now, but we want the arts here when this is all over. Photography, dance, music, theatre, and more; we take comfort in these things in times of trouble, but we cannot take them for granted. Greater Hartford is defined by the high caliber and variety of its cultural offerings, and we are at risk of losing much of what brings so much life to our region.

Rebuilding the creative sector is going to take a very long time and it’s going to take all of us, working together. We hope you will support the arts, as they are needed now more than ever, and because they are critical to our survival as a region, state, and nation.

Three Ways You Can Support the Arts Right Now

  1. Donate to your favorite arts organization or make a gift to the Arts Council at LetsGoArts.org/Give
  2. Advocate for the arts by reaching out to your local representatives, using resources from #CreateTheVoteCT at CTArtsAlliance.org
  3. Support local artists by gifting their work to friends and family

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