The Valley Arts Council was founded on the belief that while the arts are by no means new to the Valley, we seemed to be lacking a binding thread to bring that art to the forefront of life here. The Valley has been rich in culture and creativity for well over a century and the arts can, and do, take place in many diverse contexts within our community. We have among us a grouping of artists and performers of local, national and worldwide acclaim, but these artists have a limited viable local means by which to display their work. Also, there are many talented younger artists who need the opportunity to learn and grow to a greater extent than currently exists on a local basis. One of our primary goals is to add venues and to increase the opportunity for performance and exhibition within the Valley. By doing so, we will be creating a network of artists and patrons of the arts. That network will be our strength.
Art can transform a community. If well managed and developed, art can breathe life into old buildings and tired main streets while adding new vitality to business prospects. The arts can have a dramatic impact on the quality of life and the effect of that impact soon becomes apparent in places in which we live, work, and play. Art can help a community to be perceived in a way that makes people want to live in that community. Art can define a community; either in its presence, or by its absence.
A report titled "Lower Naugatuck Valley Arts and Cultural Assessment" was prepared by Maryann Ott and released in September 2000. The report was commissioned by the Alliance for Economic Growth and received initial financial support from the Community Foundation for Greater New Haven. Administrative support was received from The Greater New Haven Chamber of Commerce. The purpose of the study was to conduct an arts and cultural assessment of the Lower Naugatuck Valley to determine the need for the establishment of a regional valley arts service agency. Another goal of the research was to gain insight into the type of art that takes place within the valley community and the degree to which that art is produced.
The findings of the assessment make it clear that there exists a vibrant arts and cultural faction within each of the seven valley towns. This artistic movement was generally occurring on an individual basis with most artists working and discovering art in a somewhat isolated and independent way. This aspect of how art was being produced and experienced greatly limited its visibility and availability to the community. What was lacking was not the availability of talented artists or community interest in the arts, but simply a means by which artists could find other artists and the community could find art.
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Greater New Haven is home to a thriving arts community that includes theatre, music, dance and the visual arts. It is invested in its museums, historic preservation and the celebration of its members’ ethnic and cultural diversity.
Greater New Haven’s vibrancy is linked to its communities’ support of its neighborhoods, public gardens and sports, as well as its commitment to the protection of its people and pets.
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