Long Wharf Theatre has many funders which enable our success: foundations both in New Haven and from around the country, corporations both large and small, and thousands of individual donors, including many of you. I would like to focus on two particular important supporters of our work – the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) and the State of Connecticut’s Office of the Arts (COA).
The NEA has been an important source of funding for Long Wharf since its beginnings in the 1960’s, and it has been critical in building regional theatres, as well as many other kinds of arts organizations, for decades. Over the last ten years, the NEA has been a key supporter of new work, especially those projects which may be a commercial risk, yet have much artistic merit and could help us invest in an exciting playwright. Some recent projects which have used NEA funding included development workshops of The Most Beautiful Room in New York, the final show of this season; our annual Contemporary American Voices Festival (which you might have seen this past September); and new plays by Dael Orlandersmith and Samuel D. Hunter.
In addition to financial support, NEA funding also serves as a “good housekeeping seal of approval” to other funders. Our receipt of NEA funds is a signal about the artistic integrity and ambition of our work. As a result, we are able to leverage our grant award with both local and national funders.
The COA, which is part of the Department of Economic and Community Development, is also a major funder of Long Wharf Theatre. It is one of the few sources of general operating support left for arts organizations like Long Wharf, allowing us to apply those resources to our greatest needs.
In particular, we apply our state funding to support the various production jobs at the theatre (you may have even seen some of the positions in December’s “Chairman Challenge” video). State funding is a critical source of revenue for arts organizations all over the country, and Long Wharf is certainly no different.
I should also note that these two funding sources are related to each other. While the NEA does give direct grants to organizations such as Long Wharf, it also provides substantial “block grants” to states which they include in their awards to their organizations. Connecticut receives hundreds of thousands of dollars from the NEA to regrant to arts organizations statewide.
Needless to say, Long Wharf and our peers would be diminished without these revenues.
All my best,
Long Wharf Theatre