Letter: Arts are critical in New Haven

I would like to clarify information presented in Carmen Lu’s article — “State cuts hit city arts programs” (Feb. 11) — regarding the adverse impact Gov. M. Jodi Rell’s proposed budget cuts would have on the Arts Council of Greater New Haven. We at the Arts Council are well aware of the difficult challenge faced by our legislators as they work to achieve a balanced budget amid the growing economic crisis.

While the arts will undoubtedly face cuts, as will every area of state government, the proposed reduction of our line item by 50 percent next year, and total elimination of our line item the following year, would destabilize our organization. While I believe we would survive, it would be extremely difficult to make up for the loss of state funding. As a result, the Arts Council would need to trim staff and reduce programs and services.

The arts have been instrumental in reinvigorating downtown New Haven. Last year, over a million people experienced a diverse range of performances, exhibits, classes and other programs on the region’s stages and in its galleries. Even in these tough economic times, it is important to understand the critical role the arts play in creating a vital place to live, work and visit.

Cynthia Clair

Feb. 12

The writer is the executive director of the Arts Council of Greater New Haven.

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