Over the next eight months, the race to elect a new governor of Massachusetts will provide candidates and voters the opportunity to discuss the strengths and challenges of the Commonwealth and debate our vision to strengthen the economy, improve our schools, and make our communities healthier and safer. It’s an exciting and important time.
To capitalize on this opportunity, MASSCreative and the Create the Vote coalition kicked off its campaign this week to make sure that arts, culture, and creativity are an integral part of this important discussion.
“The Arts Matter in the Commonwealth. They should matter in this election,” said Matt Wilson, Executive Director of MASSCreative.
Massachusetts is home to world-class museums and small community-based organizations that make the state a great place to visit, work, play, and raise our families. The arts drive our economy, educate our kids—and us, and make our neighborhoods more lively and welcoming places to live.
- We know that in Massachusetts, the Arts Matter to the economy. Nonprofit arts and cultural organizations provide more than 45,000 jobs, and generate $4.6 billion annually in economic activity. Additionally, every dollar spent by an arts and cultural organization generates another $2.30 in sales for nearby businesses.
- We know that the arts instruction matters for the development of our kids. The artistic process fosters analytical thinking, problem solving, and innovation. Arts instruction improves performance across all academic disciplines, and students engaged in sequential arts education are more involved in school. Investing in arts programming can turn around failing schools and nurture children from under-resourced neighborhoods.
- Art saves lives. It can be used as a tool to help reduce violence among teens. It is therapy for those recovering from addiction. It can connect our most vulnerable students with their schools.
- Art creates vibrant communities. Arts and cultural events provide the opportunities for socializing that create safe and connected neighborhoods. An arts center can be a place of connection for young families. A local theater can anchor a neighborhood block and ensure a steady stream of business for nearby restaurants and bars. Public art can provide unexpected moments of surprise and delight that connect us all to a place.
Despite all this, many of our leaders still see the arts as nice, but not necessary.
Arts funding in the state is barely half of what it was a decade ago and a third of what it was 25 years ago. Arts education programs are shrinking and there is no requirement of at least one year of arts instruction for admission to Massachusetts state universities. While many of our leaders are vocal supporters of the arts, few are champions who make arts and culture one of their priorities.
Imagine what we could accomplish if public investment and support in the arts matched the public benefits we all enjoy from the creative community.
Create the Vote will work to ensure that Massachusetts’ next governor is a champion of the arts, who will attend our events, talk about their importance, and lead the charge to support arts, culture, and creativity in Massachusetts. During the gubernatorial campaign we will be debating how we can strengthen the economy, improve our schools, and make our communities healthier and safer. We know the role that the arts already play in each of these issues. And we know how much more could be done. Let’s make sure our next governor knows this as well.
That is why we are taking our Create the Vote campaign statewide. The Create the Vote campaign elevated the issues of arts, culture, and creativity in the Boston mayoral election. We have a unique opportunity in the months ahead to raise the profile of arts, culture, and creativity in the governor’s race.