New London Arts Organizations Receive State COVID Relief Grants

The state will provide $9 million in grant funding to more than 150 nonprofit art organizations across the state.

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Several New London nonprofit art organizations will receive grant funding to aid in COVID-19 relief.

The state announced that they will provide $9 million in grant funding to 154 nonprofit art organizations in Connecticut this month under a new program to support the state's arts community. The program uses federal CARES Act funding from the state’s Coronavirus Relief Fund, according to a press release from the governor's office.

Six of the 154 organizations are housed in New London:

  • Flock Theatre: $59,600
  • Eastern Connecticut Symphony: $56,700
  • Garde Arts Center: $182,800
  • Hygienic Art: $13,700
  • Thames Valley Music School: $11,200
  • Writer's Block InK Incorporated: $11,100

According to the Southeastern Connecticut Cultural Coalition, nonprofit arts organizations in Southeastern CT have an annual economic impact of $168 million.

"You are talking about people, you are talking about dollars and you are also talking about jobs," said Wendy Bury, executive director of the coalition.

The Garde Arts Center was one of the recipients of the grants. The center has been closed to traditional performances during the pandemic, but they are getting creative to stay afloat.

The arts center has streamed performances virtually, opened up some of their space for city school learning pods and is even selling space on their marquee for people to write notes to the community.

The theatre has gotten creative during the pandemic. Steve Sigel, executive director, estimates that revenue is down about $1.2 million. He said that donors have shown incredible support.

The Garde will use their grant funding from the state to help with operational costs.

"Maintain our skeletal staff, cover overhead and make modifications to the building," said Sigel. "It is not cheap being closed."

The Eastern Connecticut Symphony Orchestra, also located in New London, will use their funding to help with future streaming and digital efforts.

"It means that we are able to continue adapting and pivoting and figuring out what our model looks like in the winter," said Caleb Bailey, executive director of the orchestra.

The ECSO has also gotten creative during the pandemic. They were able to hold outdoor concerts in the warmer months.

Both organizations hope that the generous support from the community continues.

"When this whole thing is finally done, we can close the chapter, we want to make sure that we have all of those institutions, that make life so rich, still available," said Bailey.

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