Jack Skinner, an employee with a kayak renting business, waits for guests on Thursday, Aug. 13 near the Mystic River. "It's been very challenging times absolutely," said Amanda Arling, President of The Whaler's Inn. "If you asked me last year what 2020 was gonna look like, it probably wouldn't have included a global pandemic. But we're trying to make the best of the situation." Yehyun Kim / ctmirror.org

More than 150 people submitted testimony on House Bill 6692, which calls on the Department of Economic and Community Development to award grants and establish strategy and success metrics for arts, culture and tourism organizations in the state.

But the bill may need some work to clarify what it’s intended to do, DECD Commissioner Alexandra Daum told the Commerce Committee.

“Our council of arts is already able to make grants, so the ability to make grants, which is written into the bill, is not really necessary. There’s also an emphasis on a strategic plan — we already create a strategic plan every year that’s certified by the National Endowment for the Arts. So I think some of the mechanics of that bill are probably not necessary for us to continue to do the work that we’re doing,” she said.

Jason Mancini, executive director of Connecticut Humanities, told the committee, “Our organizations, our cultural institutions, want funding that is meaningful, reliable and equitable,” adding, “We also need to be more competitive with our neighboring states.” To that end, CT Humanities, along with the Connecticut Arts Alliance and the Connecticut Tourism Coalition have laid out a “roadmap” for their sectors, which calls for $58.5 million in annual state funding.

“Assuming we move forward,” Rep. Steve Meskers, D-Greenwich, said, “the ball will be tossed to Appropriations, as you’re well aware, in terms of allocation of available funding.”


Erica covers economic development for CT Mirror. Before moving to Connecticut to join the staff she worked in Los Angeles for public radio’s Marketplace and, before that, for the Wall Street Journal's L.A. bureau. She grew up in Minneapolis, MN, graduated from Haverford College and earned a master’s in journalism from the University of Southern California.