For the Register Citizen By Leslie Hutchison TORRINGTON — Every dollar spent by the state tourism program generates $8 in revenue for local communities, according to state officials.
In those economic terms, the city stands to benefit by the flourishing art scene that is centered around Main and Water streets.
To help to connect the city to state programs, representatives from the Connecticut Office of Tourism visited the area this week to tour six art and cultural establishments.
“We’re doing regional outreach… to educate towns about our marketing package,” said Jennifer Bove of the tourism office.
She said the program is offered at no cost to municipalities.
“There are ways to leverage tourism that garners 40 or 50 times” the original outreach, she said.
“We have 500 artists waiting to show,” said gallery Executive Director Judith McElhone, during the tour.
Since it opened in 2015, the gallery has expanded to include seven buildings, which house the permanent gallery, pop-up galleries, the Five Points Annex, a space for graduate art students called the Launchpad, and soon a Launchpad extension that will offer a print shop and will give artists access to large presses.
Across the street at the conservatory, the ballet school just held its graduation for 11 students. A total of 40 high school students study there, said ballet master Tim Melady. International students who attend the school are able to live on the premises, he said.
The Noelke Gallery sits in the middle of the expanding Five Points Gallery space. Owner John Noelke told the tour group about the power of a small audiences.
“Artists get stimulated by the size of an (art) opening,” he said.
“Arts and culture bring folks downtown and attract businesses which complement the arts,” said Erin Wilson, the city’s director of economic development, who attended the tour. “This is one of the largest art scenes in Litchfield County.”
Victoria Mazzarelli, Nutmeg Conservatory artistic director, and Tim Melady, ballet master, provide information about the conservatory on Tuesday during a tour by members of the Connecticut Office of Tourism.