State Sen. Adam Hinds meets with district arts leaders and submits Create the Vote questionnaire

BOSTON, August 27, 2018―Members of MASSCreative’s Leadership Council and creative leaders in the Berkshires met with state Sen. Adam Hinds Aug. 15 as part of its Create the Vote 2018 initiative. During the meeting, which was held at the Clark Art Institute in Williamstown, Hinds addressed questions from leaders of the local creative community, including Lucis Castaldo, IS183 Art School; Michele Daly, Mass College of Art’s Berkshire Cultural Resource Center; Adam Davis, Shakespeare and Company; Lisa Dorin, Williams College Museum of Art; Matthew Glassman, Double Edge Theatre; Jen Glockner, Office of Cultural Development for the City of Pittsfield; Sally and Fred Harris, Saint James Place, Donna Hassler, Chesterwood and Olivier Mesley, The Clark Art Institute.

Create the Vote 2018 is a nonpartisan campaign to raise awareness of the ways that arts and creative expression improve schools, strengthen local business districts, and build vibrant neighborhoods in which people want to live, work, and play. Members of the campaign are meeting with state and municipal political candidates to discuss the candidates’ views on the arts and cultural community and the role that culture, creativity, and the arts should play in state and local government.

As part of the campaign, a Create the Vote questionnaire has been distributed to candidates running for state legislative office this year. It seeks information from candidates about the role that arts and culture currently plays in their district; ideas they have for using art to spur economic development and address social problems; and whether they support increased public investment in the arts through the Massachusetts Cultural Council and passage of a Percent for Art Program in the Commonwealth.

Hinds’ questionnaire is available online here: http://www.mass-creative.org/ctv18hinds

Hinds is seeking a second term in the Massachusetts Senate representing the Berkshire, Hampshire, Franklin & Hampden District—the largest geographic territory in the legislature and an area with a significant creative economy. Thomas Wickham, a Lee selectman, is challenging Hinds in the Democratic primary, which will be held Sept. 4.

Wickham has not yet returned his Create the Vote questionnaire or responded to requests for a meeting with the Create the Vote campaign.

In his questionnaire, Hinds noted that he had requested to chair the Senate’s Committee on Tourism, Arts, and Cultural Development because of the central role that the creative economy plays in the Berkshire, Hampshire, Franklin & Hampden Senate District.

“Arts are central to most issues in the district. We have an economy that requires we support our arts institutions, utilize it to bolster the tourism economy,” he wrote. “A vibrant arts scene in northern Berkshire county has led to serious economic investment by outside investors. We have income levels that create pockets of at risk youth and arts have proven critical for accessing those youth.”

“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 the arts play 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/ctv2018.

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About MASSCreative

MASSCreative works with artists, cultural councils, arts organizations and the broader creative community to build a Commonwealth where arts and creativity are an expected, recognized, and valued part of everyday life. Working with our coalition of 400 arts and cultural organizations and artists from across the Commonwealth, MASSCreative uses public education and awareness, grassroots organizing, advocacy campaigns, and other civic and political engagement to ensure that arts, culture, and creativity are considered when important policy and political decisions get made at the state and local level.

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