Connecticut Art Trail Approved as 501(c)(3) Nonprofit Organization

The Connecticut Art Trail is excited to announce that it has been approved as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. This status will allow the Trail to pursue new grants, improve its […]

The Connecticut Art Trail is excited to announce that it has been approved as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. This status will allow the Trail to pursue new grants, improve its online presence, and better promote the rich assets Connecticut residents and visitors can experience by visiting its 22 member museums.

The Internal Revenue Service has classified the Connecticut Art Trail as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit private foundation. This status exempts the Trail from federal income tax; enables donors to deduct contributions made to the organization; and allows the organization to receive tax-deductible bequests, devises, transfers, or gifts.

“This marks an exciting new chapter for the Connecticut Art Trail,” said Carey Mack Weber, President of the Connecticut Art Trail and the Frank and Clara Meditz Executive Director at Fairfield University Art Museum. “Becoming a 501(c)(3) nonprofit opens the door to more funding opportunities, which will allow us to do more to encourage people to experience all that our world-class museums have to offer.”

As a nonprofit, the Connecticut Art Trail can apply for grant funds that were previously unavailable. Using this increased eligibility for funding, organizers are planning to develop a more robust and user-friendly website that will allow visitors to browse a comprehensive calendar of events at its member museums and learn more about their exhibits and programming.

“Museums have been ramping up their in-person events and programs after a lengthy period of virtual offerings, and we want to make people aware of the rich cultural opportunities on the Connecticut Art Trail,” said Cybele Maylone, Vice President of the Connecticut Art Trail and the Executive Director of The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum. “We’re thrilled to explore new ways to help our museums connect with visitors.”

In addition to strengthening its digital presence, the Connecticut Art Trail will use its nonprofit status to bolster its marketing efforts. Doing so will promote more visits to its member museums, centers and galleries while also promoting our state as an arts and culture destination. 

A robust arts sector serves as a significant economic driver, with benefits to the overall community and its businesses. In 2016, the Connecticut Office of the Arts concluded that nonprofit arts and cultural organizations generated $455.5 million in economic activity in Connecticut and supported more than 18,000 full-time equivalent jobs. 

By adding to the cultural identity of a community, arts organizations make Connecticut’s towns and cities a more attractive place for both residents and visitors. They help improve property values and support the regional tax base, while also encouraging tourism and spending at other nearby businesses and attractions.

The museums on the Connecticut Art Trail also have been a major resource for schools, offering professional development opportunities for teachers and group visits to students. For example, the Bruce Museum reports that an average of 25,000 schoolchildren visit its exhibits each year on field trips. The museums also offer opportunities for enrichment and entertainment through events such as art programs, family festivals, and lectures.

“Becoming a 501(c)(3) organization isn’t just great news for our museums, but also for the communities they serve,” said Lisa Lappe, Secretary of the Connecticut Art Trail and Director of Marketing at New Britain Museum of Art. “We’re looking forward to supporting the Connecticut Art Trail sites in the coming years as they continue to add value to the economic strength of our state and its high quality of life.”

Visitors can explore the sites on the Connecticut Art Trail by purchasing the Art Trail Passport, either online or in person, to receive free admission to all 22 member museums for one year after purchase. The $35 purchase, which directly supports the Trail, unlocks more than $150 in value through museum admissions, discounts, gifts, and other benefits. Those who visit every site on the Trail are currently eligible for a grand prize giveaway for an overnight stay for two and a one-hour couples massage at the Delamar Hotel of their choice.

About the Connecticut Art Trail

The Connecticut Art Trail is a partnership of 22 world-class museums and cultural sites, created to promote Connecticut’s rich cultural assets to residents and visitors. It was originally established in 1995 as a collaborative highlighting Connecticut’s role in inspiring Impressionist artists in the early 20th century, but has since expanded its scope in order to encompass the diversity of the state’s collections and to reach a broader audience. The organization also runs the Art Trail Passport program, which grants access to all member museums for one year from purchase date.