HARTFORD — With the onset of COVID-19, the arts is perhaps the hardest hit sector of the region’s economy, according to advocates.
That’s why the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving has announced the Catalyst for the Arts grant after a recent survey found that Hartford area arts organizations have seen more than a 60 percent reduction in employment as the public health crisis has stretched budgets to their limits, forced venues to be closed and led to the cancellation of countless fundraising events.
The program is expected to provide the tools and techniques to help the sector manage this new landscape.
The program is a strategic partnership between the Hartford Foundation, Fathom and Free Center/CO:LAB and is designed to shift the way arts organizations conduct individual operations, support each other for mutual success, and equitably cultivate truly diverse leaders that can bring the value of the arts to the center of broader community and policy dialogues.
The application to become part of the program is open to the arts community in the Hartford Foundation’s 29 town region.
“This collective capacity building opportunity is one of the approaches we are taking to support the arts sector during these challenging times,” said Jackie Coleman, senior education investments officer with the Hartford Foundation. “We look forward to the possibility of seeing not only the participating organizations transformation but their collective impact on the sector as a whole.”
“Fathom works with leaders to create conditions for unprecedented performance, and design futures that go beyond benchmarks of the past,” said Matt Reiniger, Associate Partner, Fathom. “We’re honored and excited to be a part of Catalyst for the Arts, where we’ll work directly with arts leaders to reimagine what’s possible and to create what’s needed to realize it.”
The program is seeking applicants representing small, medium, and large arts organizations of various types to participate in the program.
Only 15 organizations will be selected to participate, based on a competitive application process.
“Against all conceivable obstacles, the nature of art is to find a way,” said Richard Hollant, founder of CO:LAB and Free Center. “That’s how I see hope. I couldn’t be more excited about the opportunity to work with our creative community, to uncover all the benefits at the intersection of hope and ingenuity, and to evolve the role of art in the reimagining of our region.”