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Governor Malloy Launches "City Canvas" Project for CT Cities

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Governor Malloy Launches "City Canvas" Project for CT Cities

Mayors invited to submit plans to spur urban centers with art

By FRANK RIZZO

Hartford Courant

7:20 PM EST, January 23, 2012

Connecticut cities will be getting a bit of an artistic face -- and spirit--  lift.

Gov. Dannel P. Malloy, city leaders, and artists gathered at the Governor's Mansion Monday to give a high-profile launch to a new $1 million arts initiative, "City Canvases," a program that is intended  to revitalize Connecticut’s urban public spaces through large-scale art installations with the long term goal identifying citties as 

The "City Canvas Initiative", a project of the Department of Economic and Community Development (DECD), involves 10 cities commissioning and exhibiting the work of state artists in public spaces.

Murals and other public art works on "high-profile, large blank walls" in cities will be created with the goal of "dramatically demonstrat[ing] the impact art can have in  building vibrant communities."

Cities must partner with arts organization from their regions for the project.

A total of $1 million in arts grant funding will be provided by the state with an additional $1 million sought from private and local matches.

Eleven citites will receive $5,000 just to submit proposals by Feb. 24. "It's the best raffle you've ever entered," says Malloy at the gathering. The selection of winning proposals will be made in March and be undertaken in the spring.

"This is a substantial downpayment to our commitment to the arts," says Malloy.

Rocco Landesman, chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) was scheduled at the event, to tout the initiatiative with Malloy but his Washington D./C. flight was canceled.

The inititive is part of a shift in state strategy under Malloy directly linking arts with econmic development.

The change began when the governor and legislature moved the former Commission of Culture & Tourism into DECD to create the Office of Arts. Deputy DECD Commissioner Christopher "Kip" Bergstrom says the move is the first step on re-envisioning a pro-active strategy that focuses state arts funds on economic development purposes and in "rebranding of the state as a place of innovation and vibrancy.:

Bridgeport, Danbury, Hartford, New Britain, New Haven, New London, Stamford, Norwalk, Torrington, Waterbury and Middleton were the cities invited to participate.

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