Click and pick: CAFC launches new arts Web site
Keeping track of Fairfield County's cultural events just got easier. The Cultural Alliance of Fairfield County has launched FCbuzz.org, a regional arts and events calendar.
FCbuzz.org's slogan is "Click... Pick... Go!," Users can scroll through the "featured events" section, or search through sections on music; theater and dance; visual arts; literature; heritage and history; science and nature; kids and families; classes and workshops; and special events and fundraisers. Or they can search by date. There's an artists' profile section, and another with information on discount tickets.
"We create a snapshot of the creative economy," said Ryan Odinak, CAFC's executive director, "It's supremely audience-friendly. It's a place for artists, arts organizations and tourists. And it can help businesses attract potential employees, showing all that Fairfield County has to offer."
Odinak was joined by members of the arts community Wednesday, Feb. 24, at a launch party at Barcelona in SoNo. Co-owner Andy Pforzheimer donated the tapas and Spanish wines at the event, which was attended by actor James Naughton of Weston, musicians Tina Weymouth and Chris Franz, and directors of arts organizations and politicians.
Norwalk's Mayor Richard Moccia was on hand.
"Anything that enhances the arts is a positive," he said, "And from a mercenary perspective, the arts bring more people to town and more money to the economy."
Naughton noted that for every dollar spent on the arts, nine dollars comes back to the economy. He bemoaned the paucity of government spending on the arts.
"The first thing that gets cut is the arts," he said. (Connecticut's Commission on Culture and Tourism's budget was cut to $1 a year from $4.3 million.) "We have a tiny little budget. And it's not an arts budget, it's a tourism budget," he said.
FCBuzz.org's membership fees are based on the annual budgets of the arts and non-profit organizations. Annual fees range from $50 to $500. Members can upload information and photos directly onto the site. Visual artists, performers and writers can join for $60 a year. Municipalities, restaurants, hotels and businesses offering creative services can join for $100 a year.
Odinak said she hopes the site will have "cross-pollinating effects."
Franz said FCBuzz.org was "good for the arts, good for the artists, good for our children and good for the soul. It's the artists that lead the way. They open up neighborhoods and make neighborhoods more exciting."
The evening's focus on the economic benefits of the arts rankled Joan Grant, an actress and a board member of the Theatre Artists Workshop.
"It's so much more," she said, "The arts teach discipline, focus, teamwork, even more than sports do. And you have a finished product."
And for audiences, she said, "The arts take people outside their usual realm and bring them into a new space. Art makes you think and deal with the unexpected. And that that's what life is all about."
CAFC was started a year and half ago to promote the arts in Fairfield County. There are more than 200 cultural organizations in the 15 towns. CAFC coordinates marketing in the region through FCBuzz.org, marketing roundtables and a "Clash Calendar for fundraising event planning. It also provides professional development through workshops, a mentorship program, and a peer advisory network. CAFC also advocates for regional arts in the state and national level. It aims to create one cultural community from the citizens, businesses, employees, cultural organizations and municipalities.
For more information, go to FCbuzz.org, visit www.CulturalAllianceFC.org, or send an e-mail to infor@CulturalAllicanceFC.org.