Create the Vote Coalition Congratulates Mayor-Elect Marty Walsh


Coalition of arts groups looks forward to working with new mayor, who will be a champion of the arts 


BOSTON, November 6, 2013—The Create the Vote Coalition congratulates Mayor-Elect Marty Walsh, and looks forward to partnering with him to bolster the city’s arts and cultural sector. It also offers thanks to John Connolly for engaging in a thoughtful, issues-based campaign that drew attention to the role that arts and cultural organizations play in the city of Boston, and the need for political leadership and support for the sector.

“We look forward to working with Mayor-Elect Marty Walsh to build a more vibrant and connected city. He has promised to hire a cabinet-level arts commissioner who will advocate for arts and cultural organizations, and work on a strategic cultural plan for the city that can be integrated with other priorities such as education, economic development, public safety, housing, and transportation,” said Matt Wilson, executive director of MASSCreative, the convening member of the Create the Vote Coalition. “Mayor-Elect Walsh has also committed to invest in arts and cultural initiatives, reform the permitting process, bolster arts education, and employ arts as a tool to spur neighborhood development.”

“Creativity is powerful. It increases economic activity, boosts educational opportunities for young people, and helps build strong communities,” said David Howse, executive director of the Boston Children’s Chorus. “We look forward to collaborating with Mayor-Elect Walsh on his first order of business, which is selecting his cabinet, which will include the city of Boston’s first cabinet-level commissioner of the arts.”

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Check out WBUR’s The ARTery new coverage of Boston mayoral campaign and the arts

Boston mayoral candidates John Connolly and Marty Walsh are already on record promising to appoint a cabinet-level arts commissioner; invest in arts and cultural initiatives; and implement a policy plan that integrates arts and cultural planning with other city priorities including education, economic development, public safety, housing, and transportation. But WBUR’s The ARTery published interviews with both candidates on Saturday in which they talk in more detail about their plans for arts and culture within their administration.  

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Global Business Hub: The next Boston mayor will champion the arts

As the mayoral race reaches its peak media coverage, art has earned prominent mentions in political discourse.'s Global Business Hub ran a piece by Matt Wilson about the next mayor's commitment to the arts. Looking forward, Matt comments:

On November 6, we’ll know who the next mayor of Boston will be. The arts, culture and creative community looks forward to working with him on arts and cultural planning. We know he’ll support the arts. And we also know that the city will be better off for it. The next Boston mayor will champion the arts,
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Look at how far we’ve come!

Over the past four months, Boston’s creative community has joined forces to bring arts and culture to the political forefront. Together, we have made our issues a priority for mayoral finalists John Connolly and Marty Walsh.

It started July 10 at the Cyclorama where the Create the Vote coalition kicked off with great optimism. Stephanie Cardon from Big Red & Shiny called the campaign “the opportunity of decades.”

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In mayoral endorsement, Globe emphasizes the arts

Today, in its endorsement of City Councilor John Connolly for mayor of Boston, the Boston Globe placed the arts on par with other pressing issues facing the city, including education and economic development:

City Councilor John Connolly, 40, is fundamentally a reformer. He frames issues in terms of desired outcomes — a simpler, fairer school assignment plan; an end to the student achievement gap; greater entrepreneurship in neighborhoods; a more innovative arts scene — and then seeks to deploy city resources in new ways.

This is exactly where the arts and culture should be in Boston, and that has been at the heart of the Create the Vote campaign. First, Create the Vote has worked to raise awareness of what the arts, cultural, and creative communities already bring to the city. But we have been working hard to show what the possibilities could be with some strategic planning that integrates arts and cultural planning with other city priorities like education, economic development, public safety, housing, and transportation.

The Boston Globe clearly gets it. 

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Art Builds Community: Let’s Elect a Mayor Who Will Support This

Both The Rainbow Times and Bay Windows ran an op ed piece by two members of the Create the Vote coalition about Boston's next mayor. Authors, Craig Coogan of the Boston Gay Men's Chorus and Matt Wilson of MASSCreative, at first champion art as an economic driver in the city - generating $1 billion annually - but immediately shift their story to a less numeric impact: "But art does something else that is impossible to put a price on: it builds community." 

In this community impact, art has the capacity to connect individuals through a universal experience. The Boston Gay Men's Chorus use music to to unite and empower communities, speaking to what we all have in common: "We all have a soundtrack to our lives."

To put things in perspective for the mayoral election, the two arts leaders frame art as a tool to serve citywide issues:

"We want bold strategic planning from City Hall that will integrate the arts into other municipal priorities like economic development, education, housing, transportation, and public safety. Both of the finalists who will face off on November 5 have pledged to be arts champions."

Read more about how art builds community in The Rainbow Times and Bay Windows.



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Big Red & Shiny: Create the Vote: Boston Arts and the Mayoral Election

After attending both of the Create the Vote Candidate Forums, Leah Triplett of Big Red & Shiny wrote a thoughtful recap for readers who may have missed these events. Triplett highlighted the memorable moments of the forums, including Marty Walsh's call for an "arts renaissance," and John Connolly's praise for the Create the Vote campaign for educating the candidates about art advocacy. 

In the past few months preceding the Boston mayoral election, art and culture have been a significant part of the discussion: 

"The Boston arts scene has already impacted the mayoral race, compelling the candidates to include the cabinet-level arts administrator, and thus to substantively talk about arts issues." 

Read more on Big Red & Shiny's Website.

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John Connolly: ‘I want to be your champion’

“We are a city brimming with talent when it comes to the arts,” Boston City Councilor and mayoral candidate John Connolly told about 100 attendees of a public meeting at Villa Victoria Center for the Arts on Friday, October 25. “But there is no doubt that we are no making full use of that talent.”

The forum with Connolly was sponsored by the Create the Vote coalition, a collaboration of Boston’s arts, cultural, and creative institutions convened by MASSCreative, and moderated by Joyce Kulhawik, President of the Boston Theater Critics Association and The coalition held a similar forum with State Rep. and mayoral candidate Marty Walsh October 18.

Connolly reiterated his pledge to hire a cabinet-level arts commissioner in his mayoral administration and fund a city department devoted to arts and cultural initiatives. “I am serious about creating this office,” Connolly said in answer to a question about where he would find the money to pay for a municipal investment in the arts. “It’s going to come out of the general fund. Obviously things are going to have to shift around. … And I suspect that many of you have ideas about how to do this that I may not have.” 

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Imagine the Possibilities: What John Connolly and Marty Walsh Can Learn from Seattle

It’s hard to know where to begin a discussion about the integral role arts and culture plays in the life of the City of Seattle. Since establishing its Office of Arts & Culture way back in 1971, city leaders have actively worked to make Seattle a regional hub for music, theater, visual art and arts education. Fostering the creative economy is a fact of life in Seattle, just like cloudy weather and coffee.

As Seattle Mayor Michael McGinn observed last month in his budget address to city councilors, “We celebrate and promote arts and culture and historic preservation for its contribution to our quality of life, and also because it helps keep and attract the smart, creative people that power our economy.”

This is a city that passed an ordinance—in 1973—requiring that a percentage of the city’s annual capital improvement funding be set aside for the commission, purchase and installation of public artworks. Seattle’s public art collection now includes nearly 400 permanently sited works and close to 3,000 portable works. More recently, the Office of Arts & Culture developed an app to help visitors and local art lovers locate artworks and learn more about the particular installations they happen upon. 

But what’s most interesting is the way in which McGinn is combining support for the arts with other policy priorities. This is where Boston mayoral candidates John Connolly and Marty Walsh could learn a few fresh ideas about how to foster Boston’s creative culture and simultaneously advance other policies critical to our city.


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Boston Globe: North Adams rebounds with art, education

Throughout Massachusetts, the message rings true: art builds community!

Brian MacQuarrie of the Boston Globe wrote an in-depth piece about the role of art in raising North Adams to become a cultural destination and an economic driver in the Berkshires. Prior to the city's arts & cultural prominence, North Adams faced tough economic times: 

"When the bustling mills here sputtered and failed over the last several decades, much of the soul of North Adams went with them. Residents dispersed, unemployment soared, and rates of teenage pregnancy and domestic violence followed suit." North Adams rebounds with art, education," The Boston Globe

When the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art (MASS MoCA) opened over a decade ago, it sparked a transformation: galleries and art venues began to sprout up downtown and flesh out the local arts scene. Now home to 21 galleries and museums as well as 10 pieces of public art, the city's enriching experiences attract tourists and art enthusiasts alike.

“It’s kind of an amazing thing to have a depressed town reinvigorated through art,” said Jonah Emerson-Bell, a designer working at MASS MoCA.

Local colleges like the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts also deserve recognition. With its concentration of young talent and enthusiasm, MCLA has become a vibrant, innovative partner to the city. As an institution, MCLA also feeds into to the local economy through its pertinent investment plans. Its recent $30 million science center promises to bring in more money and create local jobs. 

To read more about this story, read Brian MacQuarrie's article over at the Boston Globe

As neighborhoods, cities, and regions around the Commonwealth move forward in times of economic uncertainty, narratives like this prove there is a lesson to glean from the creative sector: if nurtured, arts and culture can serve as a transformative tool in building community.  


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