Cathy Malloy Reflects On Struggle For Arts Bucks

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When it comes time for end-of-year giving, arts groups find they can most often depend on financial gifts from faithful fans.

Thank goodness.

That's because arts-giving from several other sources have taken a hit over the past decade. The National Endowment for the Arts has never fully recovered its grant-giving levels of the early '90s. Annual dollars given out by the state's Office of the Arts, for instance, have dwindled to a trickle as Connecticut's budget has been battered.

More locally, money given out by the Greater Hartford Arts Council — the organization that largely oversees corporate and workplace giving to the region's 140 nonprofit art groups — also declined over the years, from $1.4 million in 2012 to $1.1 million in 2018.

"We're certainly not making the money we did in the '80s and '90s," says Greater Hartford Arts Council CEO Cathy Malloy during a recent interview from her Pearl Street office in downtown Hartford.

Or even the first decade of the 2000s.

But Malloy still determinedly drumbeats about the arts and the role the council plays in the region, even in light of the reduced dollars it has to give out from its most recently completed budget of $2.45 million, down slightly from $2.63 million in 2012.

Malloy began in the arts post the year her husband, Dannel P. Malloy, became governor in 2011. Prior to that, she had a 10-year tenure as executive director for another not-for-profit, the Center for Sexual Assault Crisis Counseling and Education. While her husband moved out of his executive job Jan. 9, she will be continuing on in hers.

"Money is always a big issue. That's never gone away," she said.