Over the course of the 2013 Boston Mayoral campaign, the arts, culture, and creative community engaged with candidates in a vigorous public dialogue about how to make Boston a municipal arts leader.
Mayor Marty Walsh was a leader in that discussion. He was the first candidate to propose a cabinet level position for the arts. Through his platform and conversations with the community, Mayor Walsh proposed a number of exciting new initiatives, many of them can be quickly implemented. Others are part of a long-term dream to boost the support and resources for the creative community. By implementing Mayor Walsh’s bold proposals, Boston can become a municipal arts leader building a more vibrant and connected city.
“This new office [of cultural affairs] will be a partner in all creative economy and tourism discussions and initiatives.”
—from Mayor Walsh’s campaign platform[ii]
- Mayor Walsh can prioritize the arts in City Hall by implementing a cabinet level cultural affairs office. To work effectively, this office should have adequate budget and staffing to implement a robust and dynamic program. He should consider creating an Arts Commission to guide the office and its plan.
“As the first candidate in this race to vow to elevate the sector to a cabinet-level office in my administration I think my commitment is clear.”
—from Mayor Walsh’s campaign platform[iii]
- To run this office, Mayor Walsh should hire a Cultural Affairs Director who will run an innovative office and work with the arts community to build a strong movement. Boston should look to other cities’ cultural affairs positions to help guide the recruitment and hiring process. Other cities with cultural affairs directors highlight the need for the director’s ability to effectively work in the political system, raise money, and have a bold and dynamic vision. It is important that Boston’s creative community is engaged in the selection of the cultural affairs officer.
“Marty will support robust arts education in the school system, including the existing Boston Public Schools Arts Expansion Initiative, and partnerships with Boston artists.”
—from Mayor Walsh’s campaign platform[iv]
- Mayor Walsh should hire a Superintendent who will make a strong commitment to arts education in the Boston Public Schools and for after-school arts programs. The community needs a strong visionary who will both keep its support the BPS Arts Expansion Initiative, the Boston Arts Academy, and recognize the vital role arts education plays in the development of the whole child.
“Marty will direct a comprehensive and inclusive creative economy plan for the City of Boston via a citywide public engagement process that will identify attainable goals and strategies for the arts and culture sector.”
—from Mayor Walsh’s campaign platform”[v]
- Mayor Walsh should make a timely commitment of resources to develop and implement a bold and comprehensive cultural policy plan for the city. It is vital that members of the creative community are actively consulted during the pre-planning and planning process. Involved community members should range from individual artists to representatives of the largest institutions, and they should cut across lines of class, race, discipline, and geography. The creative community is poised to dream and provide a roadmap for the city and the broader community to effectively work together.
“I am going to make sure there is a line item in the city budget for arts in the city of Boston. The arts is an economic engine for the City of Boston.”
—Mayor Walsh’s remarks at the Oct. 18, 2013 Create the Vote public meeting at the African Meeting House”[vi]
- In his first budget, Mayor Walsh should create a line item for the arts and cultural community. Matching the state investment to the Boston community, an estimated $1.7 million, would be a great starting point. Longer term, the Mayor should develop a stable and sustainable revenue streams to fund the arts at a significant level ($6-10 million/year). Proposals such as a “1% for arts”, use of linkage money, or hotel taxes should all be on the table.
“He has also vowed to streamline the entire City’s permitting process to make it easier for those wishing to do business, events, and programming with the City of Boston.”
—from Mayor Walsh’s campaign platform[vii]
- Mayor Walsh should address Boston’s outdated and restrictive permitting process which often stifles the creativity of the community. Mayor Walsh should implement his idea for a “comprehensive cultural affairs web portal” to streamline the permitting process, promote transparency, and allow the creative community room to flourish in Boston.
For More Information: Contact the Create the Vote Coalition (617) 350-7610 www.mass-creative.org
[i] Quote from Marty Walsh’s remarks at public meeting with Create the Vote Coalition members at African Meeting House as reported 10/18/13 Boston Globe Story, “Walsh Vows Commitment to Arts”
[ii] First paragraph of “Cultural Affairs” campaign platform available on http://www.martywalsh.org/issue/cultural-affairs
[iii] First paragraph of “Cultural Affairs” campaign platform available on http://www.martywalsh.org/issue/cultural-affairs
[iv] Bullet point item under “Access” section of “Cultural Affairs” campaign platform available on http://www.martywalsh.org/issue/cultural-affairs
[v] Bullet point item under “accountability” section of “Cultural Affairs” campaign platform available on http://www.martywalsh.org/issue/cultural-affairs
[vi] Quote from Marty Walsh’s remarks at public meeting with Create the Vote Coalition members at African Meeting House as reported in 10/18/13 Boston Globe Story, “Walsh Vows Commitment to Arts”
[vii] First paragraph under “Transparency” section of “Cultural Affairs” campaign platform available on http://www.martywalsh.org/issue/cultural-affairs
Read more about Mayor Marty Walsh's Arts & Culture platform and agenda and the Create the Vote coalition's sit-down meetings with the other mayoral candidates.
Check out the video (below) from the Create the Vote Mayoral Candidate Forum on Arts, Culture, and Creativity held on September 9, 2013.