Connecticut state capital building
There has been some confusion and misinformation this week about the recently announced job posting for an Arts and Culture Administrator at the Department of Economic and Community Development (DECD). The Connecticut Arts Alliance, a non-profit advocacy organization led by artists, educators, and arts executives from all over our state, would like to clarify some details about this position and its importance to the creative sector in our state.
Up until a year ago, the person in this position had been appointed by the Governor, which has historically created inconsistencies with each selection or change of administration and politicization of the position. DECD corrected this problem last year by classifying (making permanent) the position with a clear job description and specific qualifications to oversee the Office of the Arts and State Historic Preservation Office. Kristina Newman-Scott, originally appointed by Governor Malloy in 2015 and often referred to as the Director of Culture, was hired for this permanent position.
DECD is simply rehiring for this job, which has been vacant since early summer when Newman-Scott left the position, as they would for any other vacancy in the department. This is not a political appointment and the job has specific criteria, which is why they are conducting a national search to secure the very best applicants to serve our state.
The Connecticut Arts Alliance has worked the many different leaders at DECD’s Office of the Arts over the last 15 years. During that time, the state arts agency has been periodically stalled from realizing its full potential for both the state and for the arts sector because of the frequent changes in leadership and inconsistent knowledge of and experience in the cultural sector. We need to maintain the status of this leadership position to ensure that our relationships with the federal government and many other state and local partners continue unimpeded, as well as to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the agency.
This position is dedicated to the long term, rather than the duration of a political appointment. At long last, Connecticut can have consistent cultural leadership with the required expertise to carry forward strategic initiatives and reinforce the agency’s very capable team. With this position in place, we now suffer fewer unnecessary delays in the progress and impact that the Office of the Arts could have for the state. Having this leadership position filled as a permanent, classified post will stop the practice of unintentional derailment of the agency by political appointees who do not have the experience or expertise or the commitment to the long-term.
For those who wonder—why does this position exist at all? If you are an artist, involved with an arts or cultural organization, or enjoy experiencing creative events in your community, then you know the importance of the Director of Culture to oversee our industry in state government and harness the power of the arts to educate the next generation, build vibrant communities, and attract and retain employers and residents.
If you are not a believer, then consider first that the nonprofits arts and cultural sector in Connecticut is an $800 million industry that supports over 23,000 jobs statewide. Next, this position for the Office of the Arts, together with those of Historic Preservation and the four museums, manages millions in federal and state funding and has critical oversight and responsibility for regulatory functions. This position leverages nearly $1 million in matching grants from the National Endowment for the Arts for statewide grantmaking and programs, which are guided by a formal strategic plan
. Overall, strong leadership at the Office of the Arts helps to catalyze investment from the business and donor community, promote collaboration with other areas of government, particularly education and tourism, and ensure accountability and efficiency.
With the facts about and importance of this position now clear, the Connecticut Arts Alliance hopes that DECD will secure the best candidate possible as soon as possible for our next Director of Culture. It is important to maintain consistency in a sector that is one of Connecticut’s strengths and a solution to—not part of—Connecticut’s economic problems. Let’s not re-break what has already been fixed.
The Roundup is a popular weekly magazine covering central Connecticut news, Statewide news, National news, local events, commentary, and more.
The Roundup currently has over 5,700 subscriptions and a local social media following of over 95,000 readers across multiple social media sites, apps, pages, and groups.
The Roundup is also a proud member of WordPress. This affiliation offers readers more news from FOX 61 and CBS Connecticut on The Roundup.
HEBRON — A video showing what appears to be the Grinch stealing Christmas gifts from a Hebron home, made a lasting impression on the community. Maria McKeon said the man seen in the video stole all the Christmas gifts from her home, and many of them were supposed to go to a needy family in New London who McKeon adopted for the holidays. The children are ages three, five, and 10 and a newborn. The community wasn’t going to let […]
ROCKY HILL – Christine Deziel said she’s running out of options to help her son. “For the past two years my son has been getting bullied,” she said. Her son goes to Griswald Middle School in Rocky Hill and said he’s stopped doing homework and all of his normal activities. She said he’s been bullied so much that just a few weeks ago her son said something no parent ever wants to hear. “He actually last year came to me […]
HARTFORD – A 22-year long tradition hit Hartford once again where Connecticut State troopers traded police work for playtime. A group of State Police troopers showed up at Connecticut Children’s Medical Center with lots of toys in tow, part of their annual toy drive for the kids at the hospital. “It’s great to give back to the community and to these kids,” said Trooper First Class Jim Nolting who mentioned he had been part of the toy drive for a […]
BRIDGEPORT — A former Bridgeport cemetery manager appeared before a judge Tuesday. She was arrested after a police investigation found new grave sites were placed on top of old ones in the city’s Park Cemetery. Dale LaPrade, 64, appeared briefly in Bridgeport Superior Court, requesting representation by a public defender, which was granted. However, FOX61’s interview request was tersely denied by LaPrade, who said, “Don’t take my picture. I’m telling you right now,” as her husband, Daniel LaPrade, the longtime former […]