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Stamford Center for the Arts Faces Big Cuts

STAMFORD, Conn. — The Stamford Center for the Arts, which Dannel Malloy supported while serving as the city's longtime mayor, faces devastating cuts as part of the governor's plan announced Friday to balance the state's $1.6 billion deficit.

Malloy's proposal includes more than $14.7 million in reductions in 2012 and $16.5 million in 2013 to the Department of Economic and Community Development, which provides considerable funding to the city's arts center.

The $378,000 in annual funding to the center may be cut by at least 25 percent and could have a domino effect on downtown businesses, city officials said

"Substantial cuts to the Stamford Center for the Arts would be very tough to overcome because we are dependent to a large extent on state funding," said Michael L. Widland, chairman of the center's Board of Directors. "But we understand the state has a very substantial budget deficit."

Widland said budget cuts would likely mean a reduction in educational programs and fewer shows at the center's main stage, the Palace Theatre.

"Fewer shows and activities would have a big impact on downtown restaurants that rely on them for business those events bring in," said Widland, president of Shipman & Goodwin LLC in Stamford. Widland said Malloy "strongly supported the Center for The Arts and the arts in general when he was mayor."

Emergency meetings of the board will be held next week to consider how to deal with the proposed cuts, Widland said. "How are we going to deal with it precisely? Right now, I don't know. This is all relatively new."

But Widland said the outlook is bleak. "It could be a lot of money to overcome, and that won't be easy in this economy," he said.

How do you think cuts to the Stamford Center for the Arts and Palace Theatre would impact the city? Leave a comment below.

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