Create the Vote 2018

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This fall, Massachusetts voters from across the Commonwealth will decide who they want to represent them in Congress, the Governor's office, and in the State Legislature.

As creative politicos, we jump at the opportunity elections give us to engage candidates and voters around the role arts and creativity play in building vibrant, connected communities.

Earlier in July, MASSCreative issued an Arts and Culture Questionnaire to a set of candidates in key races across the Commonwealth, inviting them to share their vision for a more creative and equitable Massachusetts. As we receive responses from candidates, we’ll post them online for you to read and share with fellow voters.

This week, we’ll be officially launching our work around the 2018 elections with voters like you. Join us at one of our Create the Vote launch parties to kick off election season and learn about how you can elevate arts and culture in the conversation between candidates and voters.

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Investment in our Cultural Spaces

Investment in our Cultural Spaces

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From our world-class facilities to our neighborhood arts centers and community playhouses, our cultural venues are often the anchor of a neighborhood, making our cities and towns exceptional places to live, work, play, and visit. To make sure these venues continue to make possible the creation, practice, and presentation of arts and culture, MASSCreative is working to reauthorize and increase the Massachusetts Cultural Facilities Fund.


Created by the Massachusetts Legislature in 2007, the Cultural Facilities Fund has helped restore many of our Commonwealth’s most treasured historical and cultural landmarks, and has helped fund visionary capital projects that revitalize our communities. This year’s Economic Development Bond Bill provides an opportunity to reauthorize the Cultural Facilities Fund for another five years and increase the Fund to $75 million.To build support and momentum for the reauthorization, MASSCreative circulated a letter of support, garnering signatures from 100 mayors, city managers, chambers of commerce, and cultural institutions. This letter was delivered to leadership in the MA Legislature, where movement on the Economic Development Bond Bill is expected this week.

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Meet MASSCreative's Summer 2018 Interns!

MASSCreative is pleased to introduce our four student interns. Take a look to see how these young leaders are enriching the cultural community (and our offices) here at MASSCreative this summer.

 

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Charlie Driver, Campaign Organizing

Charlie is a rising senior at Tufts University, studying History and Political Science. His professional experience includes time in the arts as a management assistant at the award-winning Off-Broadway Mint Theater Company, and time in government, interning in New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio’s Correspondence Unit. Charlie has a creative background in the theatre; he has been acting since elementary school, and is a member of Tufts’ drama club, Pen, Paint, and Pretzels. This summer, he is helping to organize the Create the Vote campaign by finding opportunities for MASSCreative to engage with voters around Massachusetts. He is also assisting with the planning of statewide Campaign Kickoff parties and the organization’s advocacy work to renew the Cultural Facilities Fund. He is looking forward to the opportunity to support the creative community in the Commonwealth and learn about campaign and non-profit management along the way.

 

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Emily Kibbe, Campaign Organizing

Originally from the San Francisco Bay Area, Emily is a rising junior at Tufts University, studying political science and gender studies. An arts-advocacy and politics enthusiast, Emily is passionate about connecting with people through many arts forms — especially when she's singing with her all-gendered a cappella group, Tufts sQ!. Beyond cheering on Spain during the World Cup, Emily is excited to spend this summer interning at MASSCreative as a junior organizing fellow. Working on our 2018 Create the Vote campaign, she can't wait to get on the ground and engage with communities across the state, as we make connections between arts, culture, and elections

 

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Emily Mo, Data Analysis

Emily is a rising senior at Boston University, majoring in Statistics. She is using data analysis to help MASSCreative better understand the relationship between its supporters' political and financial engagement. In her free time, she likes to produce music and learn about how data can be used for social good.

 

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Cameron O’Neill, Web Design and Planning

Cameron is a rising sophomore at Lafayette College, pursuing a degree in Neuroscience & Economics. With interests in computer programming and community activism, Cameron has merged the two together by joining the MASSCreative team based in Boston, working on website design and planning. So far Cameron has worked with several languages including Python, Javascript, HTML, and CSS in order to update current donation platforms and website resources. In addition to programming, Cameron also spends his time conducting research for new web resources and media directions for MASSCreative.

 

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Community Podcast Lab to Broadcast Stories from the Field

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Adrianne Mathiowetz Photography

In partnership with Futuro Media, MASSCreative is helping to start the Community Podcast Lab, an opportunity for people of color to craft and tell their stories for and about their communities. The project will serve storytellers from Mattapan, Roxbury, Jamaica Plain, and Dorchester.

The Lab will work with MASSCreative members and others to provide in-depth training in audio storytelling. Participants are encouraged to apply for the fall program here. At a kickoff event on May 15 at the PRX Podcast Garage in Allston, more than 50 attendees learned about the project and heard a live taping of Futuro’s podcast In the Thick.

“We want those who are not traditionally the voice of public media to own, tell, and spread their stories,” said Erika Dilday, Futuro’s Executive Director.  “We are excited to partner with MASSCreative to work with creative thinkers and doers in the area.”

The Futuro Media Group is an independent nonprofit organization committed to producing ethical journalism from a POC perspective and representing the new American mainstream. Based in Harlem and founded in 2010 by award-winning journalist Maria Hinojosa, its multimedia journalism explores and gives a critical voice to the diversity of the American experience. It is dedicated to telling stories from perspectives often overlooked.

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Take a look at MASSCreative's Annual Report

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MASSCreative’s 2017 Annual Report reviews the work of MASSCreative and its supporters over the past year to build a more vibrant, healthy, and connected Massachusetts.

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Thank you to our member organizations!

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Our work would not be possible without the engagement and support of our member organizations.  We now have over 400, which helps build the financial and political capacity we need to run our public education and outreach campaigns.  Here’s the list of our awesome member organizations, with asterisks next to our newest members.

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Partnering Arts with Community Development

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Over the past year, MASSCreative has worked with the Mel King Institute to build bridges between community developers and artists.  Watch the Institute’s video to see the promise of creative placemaking.

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In the News

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Author Lois Lowry speaks during the annual Children's Literature Conference at Shenandoah University on Friday.
Lowry has authored 35 books for children and the young adult classic, "The Giver." Jeff Taylor/Winchester Star

 

Kid Lit Says No to Kids in Cages Read More 

A 'Celebration of Creativity' at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High Read More 

Healing the Wounds of War Read More 

Literary Nonprofits Using Books to Make a Difference Read More

10 years later, Minnesota's Legacy Amendment fueling small town arts Read More

Author discusses loneliness at Children’s Literature Conference Read More

Cambridge Mayor Creates Task Force to Support the Arts Read More

 

 

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July 19, 2018 - MASSCreative launches Create the Vote 2018 in communities across the state

BOSTON, July 19, 2018—MASSCreative announces today that Create the Vote 2018 will launch next week with events in Boston, Easthampton, Lowell, New Bedford, North Adams, Somerville, and Worcester. Create the Vote is a non-partisan, grassroots campaign to engage voters and candidates for office in Massachusetts on the vital role that arts, culture and creative expression play in improving our schools, strengthening our economy, and building neighborhoods where people want to live, work, and play.

During Create the Vote campaigns, local advocates encourage candidates to develop cultural policies for their cities, towns, and school districts, and to lead by example by convening community leaders on the arts and by attending arts and cultural events. Create the Vote campaigns include public meetings with candidates, artists, and cultural leaders; candidate debates and forums; and publicizing candidates’ answers to a questionnaire about the arts.

“Although creativity builds more vibrant, equitable and connected communities, political and policy support for the arts isn’t a given,” said MASSCreative Executive Director Matt Wilson. “It comes from deliberate, strategic organizing and advocacy by the creative community, and cultivation of municipal and state leaders. We’re excited to work with community partners across the state to ensure that the benefits of our creative economy—and how to grow it—are part of the political discourse in this election season.”

MASSCreative has collaborated with community leaders on Create the Vote campaigns in communities across the Commonwealth since 2013, when its inaugural campaign secured a pledge from Boston mayoral candidate Marty Walsh to hire an arts commissioner, a promise he fulfilled after being elected. Create the Vote campaigns have also been instrumental in persuading municipal officials in Medford and Medfield to provide matching funds for their local cultural councils. In New Bedford, Create the Vote spearheaded the successful effort to establish a dedicated arts fund using revenue from the city’s lodging tax. The fund required the support of Mayor Jon Mitchell and the City Council, along with Gov. Charlie Baker’s approval of a home-rule petition.

Last year, MASSCreative partnered with local arts leaders, advocates, artists, creative entrepreneurs and other stakeholders in 13 cities and towns and three state senate districts. Participating municipalities included Barnstable, Boston, Brockton, Cambridge, Framingham, Franklin, Holyoke, Lowell, Lynn, Newton, Springfield, Somerville, and Worcester. In 2014, Create the Vote hosted the Commonwealth’s first-ever gubernatorial arts debate, drawing more than 500 people to Worcester’s Hanover Theatre to hear candidates explain their vision for our creative economy.

“Elections are when we hear candidates’ best ideas for meeting the challenges our communities are facing,” Wilson added. “Given the important role that art plays in educating our students, building strong neighborhoods, and generating economic activity, Create the Vote provides a valuable platform for candidates to share their ideas and policy positions on arts, culture and creativity.”

Follow the campaign on Twitter with the hashtag #CreateTheVote. You can also “like” us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter @MASSCreative, and visit http://www.mass-creative.org/ctv.

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BOSTON, July 18, 2018 - MASSCreative Urges Governor Baker to Approve Arts Funding Increase

Today, the Massachusetts Legislature approved the Conference Committee’s FY19 budget recommendations, which include a $2 million increase for the Mass Cultural Council to bring the state’s investment in arts, culture, and creativity to $16.1 million. MASSCreative Executive Director Matt Wilson offered the following statement in response:

“We’re incredibly thankful to House Speaker Robert DeLeo, Senate President Harriette L. Chandler, Ways and Means Chairs Sen. Karen Spilka and Rep. Jeffrey Sanchez, Reps. Cory Atkins and Stephen Kulik and Sen. Adam Hinds, and Cultural Caucus Chairs Sen. Julian Cyr and Rep. Mary Keefe, for their leadership advocating for an increased public investment in the Mass Cultural Council.

“We urge Gov. Charlie Baker to sign the budget with this increase included. Our state and local economies are made up of hundreds of downtown districts that would be diminished without the contributions of nonprofit arts organizations, who generated more than $2.2 billion in activity in 2015 alone. Our community life is also much richer when the arts are a part of it. Creativity and culture are the building blocks for vibrant, equitable, and connected neighborhoods, and arts education benefits learners of all ages and across fields of study.

“These economic and community benefits do not happen incidentally. They are the result of deliberate choices to invest in local cultural councils that provide free opportunities for arts and creative events and programs to all members of our communities. They happen when we nurture the development of the Commonwealth’s vast and diverse community of artists, who are driving the reinvigoration of the state’s gateway cities including Lynn, New Bedford, and Springfield. And they happen when we invest in arts education and field trips to museums, theatrical productions and musical performances so that every student has access to art, culture, and creativity.”

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