Governor Lamont Announces $7 Million in State Grants for Upgrades and Improvements at 34 Cultural and Historic Sites in Connecticut
(HARTFORD, CT) – Governor Ned Lamont today announced that the State of Connecticut is releasing more than $7 million in state grants to several nonprofit organizations for the purposes of making facility and infrastructure upgrades at 34 cultural and historic sites statewide.
The funds are being released under the state’s Good to Great Grant Program, which is co-administered by the Connecticut Department of Economic and Community Development (DECD) and CT Humanities. It was established in 2014 with a goal of helping nonprofit arts, cultural, or history organizations enhance visitors’ experiences in engaging, meaningful, and relevant ways.
“As one of the oldest states in the nation, Connecticut has many unique cultural and historic sites that not only share the history of our state but also provide avenues for that culture to continue into today,” Governor Lamont said. “I’m glad that we can release this state funding and get it into the hands of these nonprofit organizations, who will use these grants to maintain and enhance the valuable services they provide to residents and visitors to our state.”
“The Good to Great Grant Program is a competitive award program that recognizes those organizations that devote time and energy to planning strategies to improve the visitor experience,” Liz Shapiro, director of arts, preservation and museums at DECD, said. “These funds have been awarded to organizations of all sizes who demonstrate deep thinking about who they are as organizations, and what they could be if granted access to capital funding. I’m so proud that DECD is a funding partner for this outstanding group of projects.”
“CT Humanities’ public-private partnership with DECD to administer the Good to Great Grant Program continues our shared investment in Connecticut’s cultural sector,” Dr. Jason R. Mancini, executive director of CT Humanities, said. “This program aligns with our goals to provide equitable access to grant funding and recognizes the connection between a vibrant arts and humanities ecosystem and a strong tourism economy. We are grateful to Governor Lamont and the legislature for this funding and look forward to continuing this program in the future as we approach our nation’s 250th anniversary in 2026.”
The 2023 Good to Great funding recipients are:
- A Broken Umbrella Theater (New Haven): $500,000 to create a black box theater, cultural hub, and operational base that will allow them to build new work, hold classes and workshops and continue to celebrate New Haven by exploring our collective histories.
- Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum (Ridgefield): $500,000 to implement an ambitious and significant renovation of the museum’s exterior campus – creating a beautiful, universally accessible landscape designed for engagement with works of art in the center of historic Ridgefield.
- Artreach, Inc. (Norwich): $49,450 to create a trauma-sensitive and accessible space that will continue to serve as a classroom and rehearsal space.
- Avon Theatre Film Center (Stamford): $500,000 to reconfigure their existing layout to create a smaller more intimate auditorium that will be utilized for film-making classes, poetry slams, niche films, and other activities.
- Barnum Museum (Bridgeport): $181,953 to support the historic restoration of the Barnum’s six original wood door entryways that are characteristic of the iconic 1893 building.
- Bartlett Arboretum & Gardens (Stamford): $500,000 to replace their greenhouse with a modern, state-of-the-art greenhouse, which will be used to create and host a wide range of exhibits and programming.
- Brookfield Craft Center, Inc. (Brookfield): $49,900 to purchase upgraded equipment that will allow them to advance their offerings and attract the next level of craft students and artists.
- Carriage Barn Arts Center (New Canaan): $128,000 to renovate and enhance the courtyard entry to the Carriage Barn Arts Center that will serve as a year-round public space for programs, performances, exhibitions, socializing and enjoyment.
- cARTie (Shelton): $40,000 to audit their space from the perspectives of ADA compliance, ASD support, and Human-Centered Design, then operationalize recommendations to build out all necessary adjustments.
- Cinestudio (Hartford): $43,950 to replace their outdated infrared listening devices with a T-Coil loop system and pilot a program to provide captions on-screen or through a third party.
- Connecticut Landmarks (Hartford): $261,800 to implement improvements to its visitor centers at five historic house museums to better connect with visitors and other arts and culture resources in our communities.
- Eastern Pequot Tribal Nation (North Stonington): $421,050 to develop public programs that value their ancestry, traditions, and way of life.
- Ebony Horsewomen Equestrian and Therapeutic Center (Hartford): $49,999 to create public access to a transformative, educational, and rotating collection of multi-sensory historical artifacts, biographical profiles, photos, and interactives exploring the lives of the named and countless unnamed Black men and women whose underrepresented – yet distinct and substantial contributions shaped the foundation of the “Old West.”
- Essex Historical Society (Essex): $122,475 to create a "Culture Campus" at Pratt House, expanding their capacity to host collaborative events, such as America’s 250th in 2026.
- Farmington Valley Arts Center (Avon): $49,899 to build new connector bridge to the second floor of their studios’ building to make the second floor accessible to all.
- The Friends of Farm at Hilltop, Inc. (Suffield): $330,000 to reimagine the Stroh House as a Welcome and Interpretive Center at Hilltop Farm. The Center will invite visitors to learn about the long and rich agricultural and manufacturing history of this region of the Connecticut River.
- Greenwich Historical Society (Greenwich): $418,057 for the Bush-Holley House Preservation and Environmental Upgrade project, which will provide critical and timely environmental upgrades to protect this 18th-century National Historic Landmark and its collections.
- Hai An Pagoda (New Britain): $49,999 to add a triple-arch gate to Hai An Pagoda’s front entrance and create bilingual events that will help preserve, enhance, and share Vietnamese Buddhist cultural heritage more widely.
- Hill-Stead Museum (Farmington): $49,999 to implement state-of-the-art access control, which will secure the museum rooms and the administrative space and allow for expanded behind-the-scenes interpretation of the servants who called Hill-Stead home.
- KidsPlay Children’s Museum (Torrington): $200,000 to make KidsPlay’s physical environment more visually appealing, inviting and accessible to all.
- Lyman Allyn Art Museum (New London): $498,796 for The Lyman Allyn Park, a multi-year project that will revitalize and transform the museum’s 12-acre outdoor greenspace into a modern urban art park.
- The Merryall Center (New Milford): $34,500 for their Merryall Center Stage Revitalization project which will make significant upgrades to this venerable, 70+ year-old institution’s proscenium stage. When completed the Center will be equipped with a full set of new curtains and a state-of-the-art, computerized lighting system.
- Museum of Connecticut Glass (Coventry): $49,999 to make the Museum (Turner) House more accessible through updates that will significantly improve rear access to the building.
- The New England Air Museum (Windsor Locks): $46,000 to build a recording studio to save visitor memories for future generations. This recording studio will allow visitors to share their stories with the museum, react to exhibits, and contribute to future exhibits.
- Norwich Historical Society (Norwich): $306,053 to partner with the Society of the Founders of Norwich to create a campus where the c. 1675 Leffingwell House Museum will be the museum space and the Greenleaf house will be the handicapped accessible multipurpose event space.
- The Shoreline Trolley Museum (East Haven and Branford): $405,375 to update both the East Haven and Branford Museum campuses to allow a more accessibly inclusive environment for guests, volunteers and staff.
- St Luke’s Steel Band (New Haven): $49,420 to source and purchase new Steel Pans for the band and acquire a new trailer used to transport the instruments for their performance engagements.
- Strong Family Farm (Vernon): $107,870 to implement occupancy compliance upgrades.
- Time’s Fool Company (Wethersfield): $18,089 to purchase sound equipment for essential infrastructure building, which will enhance the audience experience at their free summer Shakespeare performances and allow audio-capture recordings of their plays to be distributed for free to Connecticut schools as educational resources.
- Torrington Historical Society (Torrington): $179,400 to restore a 1930s greenhouse located on the Hotchkiss-Fyler Estate, a National Register property in Downtown Torrington.
- Wethersfield Historical Society (Wethersfield): $500,000 to provide a stable building, a healthy climate-controlled environment for visitors, and allow one of the servants’ rooms to be interpreted and opened to the public.
- Windham Theatre Guild (Windham): $49,999 to buy new seats and tables for the Burton Leavitt Theatre, which will allow the Windham Theatre Guild to increase the variety and number of performances and events that can be held at the theatre.
- WPKN (Bridgeport): $85,900 for WPKN SoundMobile: Radio On Wheels, which will create the radio station’s expansion onto the streets and into the community with an all-electric radio station van that will develop new means of sharing the rich, historical musical culture and oral history of Connecticut residents.
- Yellow Farmhouse Education Center (Stonington): $288,000 to upgrade wayfinding signage to make it easier for visitors to navigate the 63-acre property, build accessible pathways and restrooms to make the property more comfortable for visitors of all abilities, and build a multipurpose Welcome Pavilion which will serve as a three-season programming and gathering place and welcome center.
For more information on the Good to Great Grant Program, visit portal.ct.gov/DECD/Content/Historic-Preservation/02_Review_Funding_Opportunities/Grant-Opportunities/Good-to-Great-Grant-Program.