Windham Arts is a charitable nonprofit organization formed in 2000 as an artists collaborative. Over the years we have taken on a regional responsibility to provide services to all creative businesses throughout Northeast CT. We are an alliance of professionals from private and public organizations and businesses who partner and collaborate to promote the Northeast Corner of Connecticut as a diverse, culturally rich place to work, live and visit. Our partnerships give us the voice and the strength so that we can represent the needs of our region and support Connecticut’s economy by providing arts and cultural leadership at a regional level.
We serve artists, art and cultural organizations and individuals with a creative spirit in the following communities: Andover, Ashford, Bolton, Brooklyn, Canterbury, Chaplin, Columbia, Coventry, Eastford, Franklin, Hampton, Hebron, Killingly, Lebanon, Mansfield, Plainfield, Pomfret, Putnam, Scotland, Stafford, Sterling, Thompson,Tolland, Union, Willimantic, Willington, Windham, Woodstock.
We partner with the following organizations to create the most opportunities for our constituents:
Connecticut Office of the Arts
Connecticut Office of Tourism
Southeast CT Cultural Coalition
Eastern Region Tourism District
Southeastern CT Enterprise Region
Northeast Council of Governments
Windham Region Chamber of Commerce
Windham Region Chamber of Commerce Foundation
Small Business Administration
Small Business Development Center
Womens Business Development Center
CT Economic Development Fund
Latinx Business Coalition
NE CT Regional Tourism Committee
Through these strategic partnerships we will make every effort to enhance our ability to serve our constituents’ needs, help to promote, strengthen and expand the cultural resources in our communities, and form arts and cross-sector relationships as an effective vehicle for change.
Our Purpose: As an Arts organization, we value and believe in the Arts as a way to foster civic engagement, stimulate economic activity and increase cultural understanding to help sustain thriving communities. Culturally and creatively diverse communities are always the strongest and most interesting, and we believe it is our responsibility to help the municipalities in our region be as diverse and culturally and artistically rich as possible.
Our Goals: During 2019-2020 Windham Arts met with, spoke with, emailed, liked and tweeted with as many artists in our region as possible. We asked them if they felt we were effective in our role as a regional arts organization and how else we could best assist them as artists or creative businesses. After extensive outreach to our constituents and multiple discussions of their needs, we are moving our organization in a mission driven direction, focusing on the following goals for the next several years:
- Increasing our organizational capacity
- Responding to the needs of our community
- Engage the community
- Advance diversity, equity and inclusion
Increasing our organizational capacity
We are located in a rural, distressed region of CT where the economy is weak, the demographics are culturally diverse, and the resources are minimal. Statistically, our population density is low, we have the lowest per capita income, the most undercounted population, and the only region without a community foundation with funds to support the arts. We must build our capacity in order to best serve our communities and constituents.
Responding to the needs of our community
As the Arts leader in our region, we must take action to address the needs of our artists and our arts and cultural organizations as well as our municipalities, community leaders, businesses and residents through the context of the Arts. We want to help foster a vibrant and economically sustainable creative community. How will we do this?
- Advocate for national, state and local financial and regulatory support of the Arts.
- Become a storyteller of the positive impact of the arts on the local economy, education, health and business.
- Become instrumental leaders in creating cross sector collaborations and relationships between the arts and public and private sectors.
- Improve access and accessibility to the arts for all people in a fair and just manner.
- Bring together artists, art organizations and art businesses, provide them opportunities to network with one another, offer them business support, and make professional development programs readily available to them.
- Create ways in which to not only promote our artists but to offer them opportunities to sell their work or services.
- Provide a path for artists to turn their work into a sustainable and profitable business, while providing them support and resources along the way.
- Host events to inform our legislators about the importance of the Arts and their economic impact as well as provide a forum in which our constituents can identify those candidates who understand the role of the Arts.
Engage the Community
In a world full of excitement, events, opportunities, and multiple forms of communication, we want to make sure that our constituents stand out, that their talents are seen and heard, their efforts are celebrated. How will we do this?
- Create a multi-platform communication strategy for the region that will enable artists to share their work, their thoughts and their expertise, will be the “go-to” place to find out about anything related to the Arts and will serve as a regional calendar of events.
- Collaborate with the CT Office of Tourism to promote our artists to people outside of our region.
- Design a modern and effective marketing plan to promote the Arts and engage audiences and customers, to include social media, television, radio and newspaper.
- Develop, host and facilitate an annual regional event to showcase, honor and promote the Arts in Northeast CT.
- Become an active participant in COA events statewide to best represent the artists in our region.
- Meet with municipal leaders bi-annually through the Council of Governments to update them on the impact of the Arts to their economic development efforts, their economy, and their quality of life.
Advance diversity, equity and inclusion
Involving everyone in our region in the Arts is critical to the vitality of our communities and the quality of life of those living there. New and different perspectives will strengthen not only our organization but every aspect of life in our communities. To this end, we are committed to engaging people of all cultures, religions, ages, abilities, and skills in the Arts, in art leadership roles, and in the development of our programs, events and goals. How will we do this?
- Build a leadership team and program committee that represent all people in our communities.
- Increase the engagement of our culturally diverse population in the Arts.
- Work with our school systems to improve access to the Arts for children of all ages, cultures, religions, abilities and skills, regardless of their socioeconomic status.
- Provide resources to all of our constituents in a fair and equal manner.
- Communicate art opportunities in a manner that increases participation in the Arts by everyone in our community.
- Recognize the artistic excellence of all artists, reflecting the communities we represent.
We believe that if we stay focused on the areas of importance outlined in this strategic plan, we will not only cement our role as an Arts leader for the region, but we will serve our constituents in a meaningful and effective way so as to improve their overall financial sustainability and quality of life, as well as aid in the growth and reach of the Arts in our communities.