“As a creative with other creative family members,” said Democrat Shafiq Abdussabur, it is so essential for a multicultural city like New Haven to have the tools necessary to embrace our creative community in all neighborhoods.”
A Better Hub for Creatives
Embrace the Cultural Equity Plan
- Identify the Budget — As Mayor, Shafiq will lead the department to start crafting a budget of what it will take to implement the programs and initiatives mentioned in the Cultural Equity Plan. Unfortunately, the current plan was merely a press event for the mayor and needs real support to get it off the ground.
- Implement the Plan — As Mayor, Shafiq will lead the Arts, Culture & Tourism department to work with State, City, and nonprofit partners and other entities to find funding to execute the Cultural Equity Plan, which was announced in the summer of 2022.
Funding The Department Where It Counts
- Increase the Arts Budget — The current Department of Arts, Culture and Tourism operates with $190,000, or just .03% of the City budget. Comparable cities in the country, like Providence, RI, fund their arts department at $1M with a staff of five FTEs. The current department can’t sustain the work they are doing without a team. As Mayor, Shafiq will increase the budget to increase staffing, specifically for development positions, to help grow the budget.
- A Development Team with Long-Term Focus — The Arts, Culture & Tourism Development Team will have an initial goal to quadruple its current budget through an aggressive fundraising campaign through the department’s nonprofit arm and by seeking available federal, state and local grants. Currently, staffing levels make it impossible to seek these other funding sources actively. The development team will also be tasked with creating a long-term fundraising plan to sustain the department over the next ten years.
Build a Creative Workforce to Implement Multicultural Programming
- Bring Back the Creative Workforce Initiative — Shafiq will bring back the Creative Workforce Initiative, which was a $75,000 partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts, Arts Council, and the City. The goal here will be to create a path for the initiative to become a permanent program with year-to-year goals to create jobs in underserved neighborhoods.
- Expand Meaningful Programming — Culturally relevant programming is proven to reduce crime and violence. In a time when New Haven is facing an unprecedented amount of violent crime, coupled with record low staffing at the NHPD, the community is less safe than it was before this mayor took office. Through a multicultural lens, Shafiq will lead by bridging that gap between re-entry, public health education, and economic development to expand the department’s reach in the community.
- Spaces of Cultural Reconciliation — As mentioned in previous campaign plans, Shafiq will work with the Department of Arts, Culture and Tourism to create spaces of cultural reconciliation across the City. It is vital to the longevity of our community that all ethnic groups can share their stories, symbols, and their meaning in a safe space.
A Place to Create and Grow
- Creative Workforce Housing — As part of a greater plan to incentivize creating jobs with access to housing through cultural development, Shafiq will work with community partners and developers to create housing for creatives who are working in the arts community. Read’s Artspace in Bridgeport, a $14M project that launched in 2004, has continued to provide Bridgeport’s downtown with exposure to local artists. New Haven needs a similar facility to start uplifting the creative community.
Attract Visitors to Stay and Play
- A Real Marketing Plan — Market NHV funding was cut entirely from the City Budget in 2020. Without a good marketing team, it is challenging to attract visitors to come and visit the Elm City and experience this multicultural community. As Mayor, Shafiq will use the increased Arts, Culture & Tourism budget to create a short- and long-term marketing plan to coordinate with local partners and attract visitors to New Haven while amplifying family-friendly and revenue-generating events year-round. By investing in the Department of Arts, Culture & Tourism and promoting the strengths of the City, we can stimulate the local economy and protect the City’s tax base.
- Economic Cultural Corridors — As part of a larger plan to establish community economic empowerment zones throughout the city, there will be a focus on creating economic cultural corridors within these empowerment zones to highlight, improve and create existing and new cultural symbols, institutions, and businesses. New Haven is the cultural hub of Connecticut. It's time the City invested in and marketed its most significant asset, our diversity.