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Hartford Arts Council Economizes

Stretching and Saving: Nonprofit downsizes to cope with slowdown

Hartford Courant Editorial

May 27, 2010

When it comes to weathering the recession, government could take a lesson from The Greater Hartford Arts Council.

Last month the nonprofit arts council announced it was selling the former Hartford Courant Arts Center at 224 Farmington Ave. in Hartford to Aetna for $300,000.

In September, the arts council will move its headquarters and the city's Welcome Center from Pratt Street to smaller, street-level space at 100 Pearl St. at the corner of Trumbull Street, saving some $50,000 a year. In addition, the council has renegotiated its vendor contracts and effected other savings.

Arts council Executive Director Kate Bolduc said she is controlling her expenses to maximize the dollars going to arts groups.

Arts Council members and supporters hope the change will bring new life to the former arts center. The two-building complex, a renovated taxi garage and motel, respectively, was a marvelous idea in the 1980s but had outlived its usefulness. The five major arts groups that were once headquartered there have either closed or moved.

With one tenant left, the Council of Churches, the center had become a drag on the arts council's budget. The building was hard to sell: When the Aetna Foundation gave it to the council in 1986, a deed restriction stipulated that it could only be sold to another nonprofit arts group. Now that Aetna has it back, it has broader development possibilities. That said, there should be an effort to save the dance studios, among the best in the Northeast.

Reprinted with permission of the Hartford Courant. To view other stories on this topic, search the Hartford Courant Archives at http://www.courant.com/archives.
| Last update: September 25, 2012 |
     
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