Local Arts Agencies are the arts councils (independent nonprofit 501(c)(3) organizations) and arts commissions (part of municipal government) that are based our towns, serving their residents in a variety of ways, from marketing and sometimes coordinating arts events in town, to providing a central clearinghouse and sometimes a calendar of events, to hosting organizations and producing their own events, to funding resident artists and arts organizations.
At a convening in December 2019, 13 local arts agencies completed a survey: 6 were arts councils, 6 were commissions and 1 was a municipal advisory committee; groups were founded between 1971 and 2016; 8 were part of govt and 5 not; 10 have a budget, 3 do not; 6 have staff and 7 do not; 9 have databases of between 50 and 5,000 people and 4 do not; 9 offer special events, 8 gallery exhibits, 6 presentations, 3 rent facilities, 2 offer grants and 1 a small scholarship. 8 offer mentorship/advice. In terms of what respondents thought was most effective, the range was immense: from professional development to facility rentals, events, a photography show, discounted services, networking, and mentoring.
Notable services/projects include: Norwalk, Milford and Newtown have poet laureates, Westport maintains an extensive town art collection, and Norwalk had (and Westport and Greenwich were developing) an Otocast phone app. audio tour of cultural highpoints of the town; Ridgefield has a project putting together schools and creatives in the community, and Greenwich also works closely with schools and the Board of Education.