Connecticut’s Office of the Arts (COA), which operates within the state Department of Economic and Community Development, is concluding a months-long strategic planning process to inform the agency’s next five-year Statewide Cultural Strategy.

The Office is also looking to hire a full-time program associate, even as budget cuts and layoffs decimate state agencies from tourism to developmental disabilities. It is just one of nearly three dozen state positions currently being advertised by the state Department of Administrative Services.

The aim of the strategic planning effort is to move perception of the arts from “nice to necessary,” according to the agency’s website. “jobTo do this, we’ve engaged a firm to help guide our discussions and considerations and are utilizing a Design Thinking approach to this process.”

The firm, Austin-based Public City, is a culture-driven public engagement consultancy and studio. Public City works “to create authentic culture-based experiences that allow our clients to deeply connect with their publics.”  The firm’s website cites 25 years of experience “strategizing, designing, commissioning, exhibiting, and partnering with cities, businesses, artists, designers, and curators.”  Connecticut is listed first on the company’s client roster, which includes numerous Texas organizations and others from throughout the country.

COA has used social media, Survey Monkey, and regional charrettes for data collection in Connecticut.  Regional charrettes were conducted in collaboration with regional partners and were “small think tank discussions by invitation which represent a wide sampling of voices.”  Facebook and Twitter sites were used, along with the hashtag #CTArts.

The Office of the Arts develops and strengthens the arts in Connecticut and makes artistic experiences widely available to residents and visitors, according to the agency website. Through its grant programs, COA invests in Connecticut artists and arts organizations and encourages the public’s participation as creators, learners, supporters, and audience members, the site explains.

In addition, the Office of the Arts plays an ongoing convening role and provides an array of training and professional development opportunities, and also collects and disseminates state, regional, and national arts information resources via web communications, directories, publications, data-sharing, one-on-one consultations, and referrals.COA_outreach(revised.med)

The staff position that COA seeks to fill will report to the state’s Director of Culture and work “independently to support the grant-making, researching, and developing activities necessary to implement arts and cultural programs in a wide range of artistic areas.”  Applications for the position – with an anticipated salary range between $62,973 and $81,493 – are due by September 22.

Following data collection and analysis in the strategic planning process, COA anticipates sharing results and engaging in further outreach. The final plan was set to emerge this week, according to the COA website.

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