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Connecticut in Color: New Haven Arts Community Launches Cultural Equity Plan

NBC Universal, Inc.

Getting more artists in the spotlight: that’s the goal of a new Cultural Equity Plan rolled out by the New Haven arts community to get more local artists, from all backgrounds, the support they need to thrive.

From the large stages at the International Arts and Ideas Festival to the Shubert and Long Wharf theaters, to community art events, arts and culture in New Haven are part of the city’s deep history.

The cultural equity plan is designed to increase support for local talent in the broad landscape of artistry.

“This is for us at the city of New Haven to do the work, to be held accountable, to make sure that when we get more resources in, it’s not going to downtown only, it’s going throughout the different pockets in our city,” said city of New Haven Arts Director Adriane Jefferson.

It was unveiled at a launch event the Dixwell Q House and included art is Puma Simone and Salwa Abdussabur.

“This document is a promise from the city, is a promise to the arts community, and our community that we will uplift artists, that we will fund artists, that we will research artists,” said Abdussabur, the founder of Black Haven. The group gets resources to artists throughout the state.

Abdusabur worked on the team that created the plan, and she is excited to see a larger scale effort for support.

“Because art is abundant, art is inherently inclusive and equitable,” Abdusabur said.

The document outlines several ways to get to equity, including having community conversations about what artists need, like art spaces, housing and healthcare. It also discusses policies for what they say they deserve, like being paid equitably.

“This document acknowledges the international festival of arts and ideas when it’s on the New Haven Green, but it also acknowledges the knitter, the sewer, the artist that is creating in their home space that may just be a table in their dining room, or in their bedroom,” said Patrick Dunn, executive director of the New Haven Pride Center.

It's the first plan in the state that brings together artists and art stakeholders to strengthen relationships and address disparities in the art community.

“It’s rooted in the voices and experiences of its residents, so that connection is really important,” said Daniel Fitzmaurice of the Arts Council of Greater New Haven.

The plan creators say there are places and people already doing the work of equity and inclusion. Now there’s a roadmap to every performance, no matter how big or small, a place of positivity and expression.

“My hope for this plan is for New Haven to be a brighter more colorful New Haven,” said Abdusabur.

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