Arts Leaders Meet With Candidate for State Rep. Christine Barber; Barber Pledges To Support Increased Investment in Arts Community

November 3, 2014—MASSCreative announced today that leaders and supporters of arts and culture in Medford and Somerville met with Candidate for State Rep. Christine Barber Oct. 29 at the Somerville Museum to discuss the candidate’s vision for the creative community in the 34th Middlesex district.

The candidate described the impact of arts and culture in bringing the residents together and being the economic driver in the community. “Arts events and festivals bring people out and interacting with neighbors,” Barber said. “Arts make for a healthy civic life here. Somerville is a hot place to live because of arts and culture and we need to figure out how keep arts as a part of the economy.”

The candidate also described her experience with artists in the community through Open Studios and how it’s helped her in her policy work. Du Bois said that when she was working on health care reform, she met and worked with artists to make sure health care coverage was extended to them.  

Barber promised to work to increase investment in the Massachusetts Cultural Council. She said she values the Local Cultural Council program funded by the Massachusetts Cultural Council. “Both Somerville and Medford have successful Arts Councils that are doing incredible work in bring arts to our communities. Events like Porchfest and Riverfest make art real to us and help to build our communities,” she said.

“Nonprofit arts and cultural organizations in Massachusetts support more than 45,000 jobs, spend $2.1 billion annually, and generate another $2.5 billion of economic activity,” said Matt Wilson, Executive Director of MASSCreative. “We see the impact of the arts locally here in Medford and Somerville through the work of the local cultural councils, which make the arts accessible to young children, students, families, and older adults. They also help support working artists. We look forward to working with lawmakers in the next legislative session to ensure that the Commonwealth is getting the most out of its investment in the arts.”

Arts and cultural leaders including Gene Brune, former mayor of Somerville; Greg Jenkins of Somerville Arts Council; Barbara Mangum of the Somerville Museum; Gary Roberts of Medford Arts Council; Allie Fiske Shvonski of CACHE in Medfor; and Brandon Wilson of the Historic Preservation Committee of Somerville met with Barber.

MASSCreative is meeting with candidates through the Create the Vote Coalition—a collaboration of Massachusetts arts, cultural, and creative institutions convened by MASSCreative. The Create the Vote Coalition is also asking candidates for governor and state legislative office to fill out an arts questionnaire. You can read Christine Barber’s answers to the Create the Vote candidate questionnaire here.

On July 15, the Coalition hosted the historic Gubernatorial Forum on Arts, Culture, and Creativity, the first-ever gubernatorial debate about arts and culture. The Forum was held at The Hanover Theatre in Worcester and attended by 500 artists, cultural leaders, and members of the public.  Candidates Don Berwick, Attorney General Martha Coakley, Evan Falchuk, Mark Fisher, Treasurer Steve Grossman, and Jeff McCormick answered questions from moderator Joyce Kulhawik and arts leaders from around the state. A video of the Forum is available here.



Founded in 2012, MASSCreative works with creative leaders and entrepreneurs, working artists, arts educators, and arts and cultural supporters to empower creative organizations and the public with a powerful voice to advocate for the resources and support necessary to build vibrant and connected communities.

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