Investing in cultural infrastructure is often overlooked during a recession, even though studies prove the arts help spark economic recovery. Creativity stimulates the local workforce, supports the development of tourism, and bolsters civic engagement. This year, we're tapping into the critical connection between the arts and the economy for the Cultural Alliance of Western CT's Annual Fundraiser. Our campaign was designed not only to intrigue the viewer, but to educate our audience about the unknown benefits of the arts in our communities. The idea is to encourage sponsorship and donations, for sure, but also create interest and drive awareness of the event.

“Refresh. Revive. Revitalize: How the Arts Spark Economic Activity,” will be streamed from 9 to 10:30 a.m. on Friday, Oct. 8. Local leaders in government, education and business have been invited to discuss how art helps the economy. Ridgefield First Selectman Rudy Marconi, a longtime advocate of the arts as an engine of the economy, will lead the round-table discussion.

“Our elected officials have been so important in the conversation about the importance of art and how it can benefit a community in tangible ways,” said Lisa Scails, executive director of the Cultural Alliance. “The presentation will show real examples of projects in our local towns that have worked to bring in visitors, attract patrons to businesses, and to make our communities more livable.”

Marconi will be joined by Bethel First Selectman Matt Knickerbocker, New Milford Mayor Pete Bass, Sherman First Selectman Don Lowe, Western Connecticut State University Provost Missy Alexander and Neviana Zhgaba of Aquila’s Nest Vineyards in Newtown. They will discuss successful art projects and plans for the future to bring art into our cities and towns to help communities recover from economic shocks and better equip them to withstand future crises.

“We see examples across the region of art projects that have injected life into a section of town,” Marconi said. “If we can agree to build on our successes and promote art as a way of attracting more business to this part of the state, we will be much stronger in coming years.” The event will include an auction and opportunities to donate to the Cultural Alliance, a 501(c)3 service organization serving 10 towns in the Greater Danbury area. For more information, visit