Create the Vote Coalition Meets With Gubernatorial Candidate and State Treasurer Steve Grossman

Candidate would increase public investment in the arts, and be a champion for the sector

BOSTON, September 4, 2014— Continuing its series of sit down meetings with candidates for governor of Massachusetts, members of the Create the Vote coalition met with gubernatorial candidate and state Treasurer Steve Grossman at the Museum of African American History on Boston’s Beacon Hill to talk about Grossman’s views on the arts and cultural community and the role it would play in his administration.

The Coalition—a collaboration of Massachusetts arts, cultural, and creative institutions convened by MASSCreative—met with Grossman July 9. Representatives from Stage Source, Lyric Stage Company, Fort Point Artists Association, Cambridge Center for Adult Education; Dance Alliance; Arts and Business Council of Greater Boston, and BostonAPP/Lab: Art in Public Places, as well as the Museum of African American History, questioned Grossman about his vision for the arts in the Commonwealth.

Grossman said that the most important thing that the next governor could do was use the power of the bully pulpit to show support for the sector. “In a $36 billion state budget you should be able to do more for the arts than $12 million,” Grossman said, referring to the amount budgeted by lawmakers for the Massachusetts Cultural Council. “It speaks so much to who are as a society.” 

Grossman said he would lead a process of creating a blueprint for arts and culture for the state that would include stakeholders from business and education: “We will craft a blueprint for the community moving forward that will” impress everyone from lawmakers to business leaders.

He talked about the need to integrate arts and culture into other priority areas in the state such as the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, higher education, economic development, and the criminal justice system.

Grossman said that the economic benefits that artists and cultural organizations bring to the Commonwealth should be obvious to everyone: “There isn’t a Gateway City in the state that isn’t looking at how to attract more artists,” Grossman said.

Noting that “sustainable revenue streams are hard” to create, Grossman said that the arts needed one. “The problem is that every time there is a downturn, the arts get cut. It’s been cut disproportionately.”

StageSource Executive Director Julie Hennrikus, who participated in the meeting with Grossman, said: “We are thrilled to be leading a new conversation about how important the arts are to Massachusetts. Our next governor should be a champion for artists and arts and culture. We want the governor to advocate for more funding to help the sector grow and thrive so that we can bring even more value to the state.”

“Other states, and even municipalities such as Philadelphia and New York, invest heavily in the arts and historic preservation. Much has been accomplished in Massachusetts,” said Beverly Morgan-Welch, Executive Director of the Museum of African American History, “but imagine what we could do with a larger investment and a coordinated effort. Every child in this Commonwealth should have access to high quality arts education and the foundational enrichment provided by our historic landscape throughout their years in school.” 

“Arts matter in Massachusetts,” said Matt Wilson, executive director of MASSCreative, who facilitated the meeting with Grossman. “It increases economic activity, boosts educational opportunities for young people, and helps build strong communities. We look forward to collaborating with the next governor of Massachusetts to support the arts and cultural community in working to its fullest capacity.”

Grossman was the third candidate to meet with the Coalition, which previously interviewed Evan Falchuk and Jeff McCormick.

The Create the Vote Coalition will continue to meet with candidates and share with the public what they learn. The Coalition looks forward to learning more details from candidates, including those they have already met with, about how their ideas and initiatives for the arts will be implemented from a policy and funding perspective. For more information about the coalition and the Create the Vote campaign, visit

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.


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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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