Campaigns will run in Fitchburg, Gloucester, Medford, New Bedford, and Worcester
BOSTON, October 13, 2015—MASSCreative announced today that it has partnered with local art groups in Fitchburg, Gloucester, Medford, New Bedford, and Worcester to run Create the Vote campaigns during the mayoral and city council elections. The campaigns will highlight the importance and role that arts and culture play in their respective cities.
“Elections are a great time to discuss the strengths of our cities, the challenges they face, and the vision for our communities,” said Matt Wilson, executive director of MASSCreative. “The role that arts and culture plays in our local economies, in student education, and in strengthening our communities is an important part of the political discourse. We look forward to hearing from the candidates on their vision for the role that arts and culture can play in their communities.”
Create the Vote Gloucester hosted a forum on arts and culture October 5 between mayoral candidates Sefatia Romeo Theken and Paul McGeary, that drew more than 125 people. Organized by the Gloucester Stage Company, Rocky Neck Art Colony, Gloucester’s Committee for the Arts, Arts Gloucester, and seARTS, and moderated by MASSCreative Director Matt Wilson, the event featured a robust hour-long discussion of arts and culture.
Fitchburg, Medford, New Bedford and Worcester have launched their campaigns with an Arts & Culture questionnaire to the candidates. In Fitchburg, the Sentinel & Enterprise has committed to printing the candidates’ answers to the Create the Vote questionnaires. New Bedford Open Studios crowdsourced their questions from local artists via social media before issuing the candidates their questionnaire.
Create the Vote encourages candidates to develop dynamic cultural policies and to lead by example by convening community leaders on the arts and by attending arts and cultural events. The campaign was a significant presence during the 2014 gubernatorial race, hosting six candidates at the first-ever Gubernatorial Forum on Arts, Culture, and Creativity; meeting with candidates; and publicizing the answers to candidates’ Create the Vote questionnaires. In the 2013 Boston mayoral race, Create the Vote succeeded in securing a pledge from candidate Marty Walsh to create a cabinet level position for the arts, a promise he fulfilled after his election with the hiring of Julie Burros as Chief of Arts and Culture.
Each of the cities participating in Create the Vote 2015 reaps significant economic, educational, and other benefits from the arts and culture sector. To cite just a few examples:
- In Fitchburg, the Fitchburg Art Museum has long been an integral part of the community, partnering with other local institutions to provide educational opportunities for the city’s students and to boost the local economy.
- Recognizing the economic potential of Medford’s arts community, the Medford City Council and Mayor Michael McGlynn approved a 100 percent increase to the city’s arts budget from $15,000 to $30,000 this year.
- Gloucester is home to two cultural districts, where arts and the fishing industry merge. The Harbortown Cultural District is right in the center of the oldest seaport in New England, while the Rocky Neck Cultural District is in the heart of one of America’s oldest art colonies.
- According to the Massachusetts Cultural Data Project, on the South Coast, which encompasses New Bedford, arts and cultural events generated $21.6 million in 2011. Close to 500,000 people attended events in the region that year.
- In Worcester, the arts are a critical community builder with events such as Worcester Windows and Worcester Pop-Up drawing residents to the city’s downtown district. Mechanics Hall and the Hanover Theatre for the Performing Arts regularly feature music and theater, while the city’s museums and galleries have multiple educational and entertaining programs for children, teens, and adults.
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/ctv.
# # #
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.