The Possibilites at Passim

Our friends across the River at Passim need some love from the Cultural Facilities Fund. Imagine what Passim and other venues just like it could do if we all convince Governor Patrick to allocate the remaining $26 million of the Cultural Facilities Fund.

"The Massachusetts Cultural Facilities Fund has provided significant help to Cambridge to maintain and enrich both the arts and the community.  Cambridge has received $400K for construction of the Maud Morgan Visual Arts Center, $169K for ART, $250K for the Cambridge Center for Adult Education and $192,000 for completion of the Central Square Theater. Harvard University has offered to sell Passim the building that has housed us for more than half a century.  A major grant from MCFF will help us raise the money to be able to consummate the purchase.  The result will be an increased capacity to achieve our mission, including being able to provide complete handicap accessibility."

-Dan Hogan, Executive Director, Passim

Does your space need some love from the Cultural Facilities Fund? Send photos and your story to Tracie: tkonopinski@mass-creative.org and we'll share them with the Governor.       

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Meet the Berkshire Museum

Meet the Berkshire Museum. Another reason for Governor Patrick to allocate the remaining $26 million of the Cultural Facilites Fund in the last year of this cycle.

The Berkshire Museum, a cultural center in the Berkshires for 110 years, serves 85,000 visitors annually and provides more than 16,000 individual educational experiences to local students in science and the arts. Support from the Cultural Facilities Fund has made a critical difference in ensuring the Museum is safe and accessible for all visitors and that collections and exhibitions are preserved for future generations.

-Laurie Werner, Director of Campaign and Major Gifts, Berkshire Museum

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Want to share your story? Send a picture and short story about your favorite cultural venue and why the Cultural Facilities Fund matters to your community. Email Tracie:  tkonopinski@mass-creative.org.

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Apple Tree Arts Restores Historic Facility

We're featuring a facility each day for the next 30 days and compiling them for Governor Deval Patrick. If you'd like to see your favorite cultural venue on this blog, email tkonopinski@mass-creative.org with a picture and short blurb about the venue and why the Cultural Facility Fund is important for this facility.

The shared vision of Apple Tree Arts and the Town of Grafton includes the restoration of The Grafton Town House, a nineteenth-century historical treasure representing a true “back to the future” solution to an underutilized and neglected space.

The arts inspire creativity and tell us something about what it means to be alive as individuals as well as in our community.  Continued support from the Mass Cultural Facilities Fund will have a major impact on the success of the preservation of this architecturally significant building, to help maintain the integrity and character of the Grafton Common Historic District and to help foster our mission of enriching and connecting lives through the arts.  

- Donna Blanchard, Executive Director

See the facility in 1887 and present day. Click here for more about this cultural facility.

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Where Art Meets Politics

Hayley Levitt of Theater Mania wrote an in-depth piece about MASSCreative’s Create the Vote campaign, highlighting the duties of an Arts Voter.

As Levitt notes, many arts leaders are wary to engage in politics, and yet, they forget about the political potential of creative movements. In an attempt to capture this political potential, Create the Vote will hold an Arts Forum at the Paramount Theatre on September 9th where the candidates and the public can come together to discuss the future of the arts.

Read the article here.

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John Connolly's Responses to Create the Vote Questionnaire

If you would rather have pdf version, find it here


1. Addressing Citywide Issues: Just as any other major city, Boston faces many economic and social issues. Can you provide examples on how you would integrate the arts, culture, and creative community in solving social problems? How would you use our community to drive economic development in the city?

As mayor, I will make support for the arts and culture a priority. The arts enrich our lives, spark our curiosity, bring us together, and make our city a more interesting, welcoming, and vibrant place to live, work and visit. By doing all of that, the arts also strengthen our economy. One of our greatest economic challenges is keeping skilled and talented workers here in the Boston area, and those workers want a city with a thriving artistic and cultural life. If we attract and retain skilled and talented workers, then we’ll also attract the companies that want to hire them. I will also work to ensure that all Bostonians benefit from the city’s arts and cultural resources, not just downtown but in every neighborhood. I supported the effort by a group of community members to use Bartlett Yard in Roxbury as a community arts space, and I will work to establish a culture at City Hall that works collaboratively to green light more projects like this.

We are fortunate to have incredible arts organizations for young people, like Artists for Humanity, which provides teens with jobs making and selling art; and Zumix, which builds community by teaching young people to play instruments, write songs, and record music, among other things. These programs are helping young people to build self-esteem, giving them the confidence to imagine a positive future for themselves. As mayor, I will do everything I can to support arts organizations working with young people in our neighborhoods, including exploring options to increase direct funding for them.

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John Connolly's Creative Economy Platform

From John Connolly's page "Making Boston A Competitive Job Creator" on his website.

Nurturing The Creative Economy

With world-class museums and universities and our unique history, Boston is in a position to become a leader in the creative economy. The city can support artists by promoting public art and creating space for artists to create and sell their work. As mayor, I will promote efforts to ensure the availability of affordable loft and studio space and would work with artists' groups and nonprofits to create vibrant exhibit spaces and marketplaces throughout the city. 

As mayor, I will remove the red tape that stifles our creative economy. We will retain young talent and have a more vibrant culture as a city if we lift restrictions on businesses that provide space for arts and music. We must also remove barriers to mobile vendors and food trucks and expedite permitting for new restaurants and stores. 

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"We Need More Public Art"

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The Candidates and Public Art

Alex Pearlman of Boston.com posed this question to the candidates: What's your favorite piece of public art in Boston? Their answers are diverse and insightful, shedding some light on the city as a whole, from the Boston Women’s Memorial on Commonwealth Avenue to The Pear in Edward Everett Square in Dorchester. Pearlman's question forces the candidates to consider the place of art in a public realm and the way it engages passersby. Read the article here to see each candidate's choice.

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Sit-Down Meeting with John Barros - Key Takeaways

Members of the Create the Vote coalition sat down with Boston mayoral candidate John Barros to share our stories and discuss his position on the arts, culture, and creative community in Boston.

Here are the key points and takeaways from our conversation:

  • Background: John Barros’ parents emigrated from Cape Verde, West Africa - where the arts, particularly music, were integral in all aspects of life. He is trained in the djembe – and is a drummer in his church. At the Dudley Street Neighborhood Initiative (DSNI), where he has been the Executive Director for 13 years, Barros used the arts as a community builder. In the late 1980s, when youth violence was prevalent in his neighborhood, Barros decided to work to address the public image of youth by creating a community mural. It took 3 years and over 300 young people to complete, yet the outcome was a piece of public art that the community felt complete ownership of, and helped to build a different identity for at-risk youth.
  • Barros expressed the need for the next mayor of Boston to articulate a bold new vision for the city. He said, “We need to start thinking about the vision for what the city will look like. So far, we have the ‘Eds’ and the ‘Meds,’ - but to start planning a more inclusive Boston, we need to add other essential pillars: The Green Economy, and The Arts.”
  • In realizing this vision, Barros believes that we need strategic, comprehensive planning, and cited the need to develop a cultural policy for the city. Instead of an approach to the creative community in Boston that is tactical and transactional, Barros wants to spearhead a strategic, long-term plan for the arts in the city. He believes that if City Hall leads in this effort, then the rest of the community will follow.
  • Barros emphasized his experience in planning and management with DSNI, and the need for the mayor to have a deep understanding of clear operations in order to accomplish these goals. He wants to bring people from diverse backgrounds and sectors together to form partnerships and work within a transparent system, creating staff positions like “Curator-in-Chief” to head operations and an Arts Commission to come up with a strong vision. In his words: “What we need to do is put strong people in place, under clear vision and goals, empower them to do good work, and then get out of the way.”
  • Finally, Barros identified three specific revenue streams that he would tap into to actualize his vision:

a) Linkage money from developments –he cited his work in affordable housing that would provide valuable experience in utilizing this untapped resource for the arts.

b) Private Funding – he said “we need to have a mayor that is not afraid to make an ask” to private funders to support integrating creative projects throughout the city.

c) Endow an Arts Foundation in Boston – “look at Ted Cutler, we can get another five Teds” to invest in supporting the arts in Boston long term.

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Bill Walczak's Responses to Create the Vote Questionnaire

If you would rather have pdf version, find it here

1). Addressing Citywide Issues

Just as any other major city, Boston faces many economic and social issues. Can you provide examples on how you would integrate the arts, culture, and creative community in solving social problems? How would you use our community to drive economic development in the city?

Arts and culture are vital indicators of a city’s overall health, education and prosperity and at both Codman Square Health Center and Codman Academy Charter Public School, I expanded access to the arts for artists and residents of underserved communities. This includes many initiatives that have brought people together around critical social issues and in celebration of Boston’s rich diversity and historical assets; such as the Peace Tile Project, Boston Arts Millennium, Childhoods Interrupted by War, the Dorchester Artist Spirit and the Boston Landmarks Orchestra, among others.

Codman Academy Charter Public School, which I co-founded, won the state’s highest award in arts and culture from the Massachusetts Cultural Council for our pioneering, in-depth partnership with the Huntington Theatre Company, where the theatre has become an “expeditionary learning” extension of our campus. When violence against youth spiked eight years ago, the partnership created the annual summer Shakespeare production, which continues to this day.  This Thursday and Friday our students will perform on the Calderwood stage at the Boston Center for the Arts through the Huntington Theatre program.  

I have traveled to other communities, from Philadelphia to Belfast, to learn how others have leveraged the arts, culture and the creative community to tackle social problems and build community capacity.  I have also participated in health and cultural missions to countries such as Vietnam and Nigeria to share our culture and connect with immigrant communities here in Boston. 

Under my Administration, Boston’s new Commissioner for Arts & Cultural Affairs will develop a stream of initiatives specifically to tackle social problems; and as one way to process real-time developments like the Boston Marathon bombing and the Trayvon Martin verdict. This work will happen in concert with a cross-section of organizational and individual stakeholders from outside City government; and like all aspects of our evolving priorities for the arts will be supported by inter-departmental City leadership.

My new Creative Industries Office will work with other City departments to integrate the arts into my economic development plan.  For example, I’m proposing a new East Boston Innovation District that could include affordable housing and shared work space for artists.  We also will look at adapting the HandMade in America model to assist home-based craftspeople, often single moms, in our economic development, community revitalization and civic health plans; providing the infrastructure, training and wrap-around services for micro-artists to make the leap from limited home-based production to scaled and profitable enterprises.

 

 

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