CTH grant funds support Connecticut Democracy Center’s CT Kid Governor program which provides civics education to 5th graders in participating schools. Windsor’s Makhi Ettienne-Modeste was officially sworn in as 2022 Kid Governor in January 2022. Official Portrait / Kid Governor

For the past two and a half years, CT Humanities has been using state, federal, and private foundation funds to steward the cultural sector through the pandemic with grants, digital resources, and professional development programs.

CTH, an independent, nonprofit affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities, strives to ensure the public humanities inspire storytelling, lifelong learning, informed public dialogue, and civic engagement in ways that strengthen communities and enhance quality of life for all Connecticut’s residents.

“It is critical that our state ensure all people can access the power of the humanities, arts, and culture to transform and enrich their lives and be empowered participants in our democracy,” says Dr. Jason Mancini, a North Stonington resident and CTH’s executive director.

1,060 grants to cultural nonprofits across Connecticut

Headquartered in Middletown, CTH’s grants and/or programs reach all of Connecticut’s 169 towns.

Through its expanded relationship with the Department of Economic and Community Development’s Connecticut Office of the Arts (COA), CTH awarded 1,060 grants from July 2019 through January 2022, totaling more than $23.9M.

This support went directly to the nonprofit cultural sector, including humanities and arts organizations, museums, zoos, aquariums, historical societies, community centers, libraries, towns, and tribal nations.  Funding and initiatives are also helping organizations increase diversity, equity, inclusion, and access within their operations and programs.

According to Arts in CT board president, Juwerl Thornton, Jr., the CT Cultural Fund Operating Support Grant they received allowed the organization to “flourish to heights never before seen,” hiring staff and reaching more students. Photo from Arts in CT

$16.1M in state funds distributed by CTH to 632 cultural organizations

In December, CTH awarded $16,109,800 in CT Cultural Fund Operating Support Grants to 632 cultural nonprofits.

With funds provided by the Connecticut State Department of Economic and Community Development/COA from the Connecticut State Legislature, these grants are assisting the state’s cultural treasures recover from the pandemic and maintain and grow their ability to serve their community and the public. They are also intended to connect K-12 teachers and students to strong humanities and arts content, and to improve the information technology and digital infrastructure of the grantees.

Mancini explains, “this funding underscores the commitment Connecticut’s leaders have made to address the health and wellbeing of the people and communities they serve.”

Deirdre Thomas, board member at New Haven’s Arts in CT, one of 632 cultural organizations receiving a CT Cultural Fund Operating Support Grant, says, “grants awarded to Arts in CT immediately and effectively inspire, aid, and enrich the community from school kids to seniors, of all socioeconomic backgrounds.”

A lifeline to cultural organizations, help for students, educators, families

CTH’s support has provided a lifeline to hundreds of cultural organizations – keeping doors open and people employed. CTH has also provided critical resources and experiences to educators and students in our communities as they transitioned to at home and hybrid classrooms.

In collaboration with the COA, the Office of the Governor, the CT Department of Education, and the Office of Early Childhood, CTH helped implement the popular CT Summer at the Museum program in 2021 that allowed museums to offer free admission to children and an accompanying adult, increasing access to experiential learning at museums for families across the state.

Pictured at Mystic Seaport Museum are Katherine Boremski (in bright orange backpack) and son Henry Boremski (older child) with Katherine’s sister, Linda Barnes, and son Samwise Barnes (younger child). Mystic Seaport Museum was one of 71 museums than participated in the CT Summer at the Museum Program in 2021. Claire Calabretta / Mystic Seaport

Old Lyme resident and mom, Katherine Boremski, explains, “after the long year of isolation and stagnation the CT Summer at the Museums free program was really a blessing for us. We took full advantage of it and visited many of them. One was the Mystic Seaport Museum. My son was able to enjoy just being able to get some fresh air and be a child again. He enjoyed experiencing a little taste of ‘the past.’”

Continued public support is critical

Museums and cultural institutions are both education centers and tourism generators in our communities. They give residents of all ages opportunities to engage with local history and culture and provide spaces for dialogue and connection. Public support provides funding so they may grow and transform to meet the needs of the people they serve in these challenging times and beyond.

“In addition to anchoring communities and contributing to the economic engine of our state, the arts and humanities help us make sense of and address today’s biggest challenges in ways that help us learn from one another, be resilient, and co-create paths to move forward,” says New Haven’s Dr. Frank Mitchell, a CTH board member. “There is so much joy in this endeavor,” Mitchell adds.

To learn more about CT Humanities, visit cthumanities.org.

To see the full list of CT Cultural Fund awards and testimonials from grantees, visit cthumanities.org/ct-humanities-impact.