Dylan Fernandes' Response to the Cape Cod Arts and Cultural Questionnaire

Arts and Culture in Your District

Cape Cod is blessed with a rich mix of arts & cultural organizations. Please name two places in the district where you have had personally significant arts and cultural experiences.

I grew up in Woods Hole which is home to world renown scientific laboratories. One of my favorite cultural experiences was listening to a lecture at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute by Noam Chomsky.

My favorite place in the district where I experience art is my childhood home. My mother, Tessa Morgan, is an artist who owns Flying Pig Pottery and creates artwork from her studio. As the son of an artist in Falmouth, I understand the challenges facing artists on the Cape and Islands.

Arts Education and Programs for our Youth

Creativity and innovation are vital skills in a student’s education and in workforce development in our 21st century economy. How will you champion arts education? Would you support joining ten other states to make one year of arts education in high school a requirement for admission to the state university system?

Education is the foundation of a democratic society. It is the most powerful tool in lifting people out of poverty, expanding opportunity and preparing people from all backgrounds to live up to their full potential.

I am the product of our public school system, having graduated from Falmouth High School and the head of my committee, Brian Switzer, is a local school teacher. I come at this issue as someone who wants to support all of our children AND our teachers.

But that means getting serious about funding. State aid to our schools has been level funded for years – even as our towns have struggled with increasing costs. With fixed costs like healthcare and retirement rising, there is little money available for important innovations like universal pre­K and full day kindergarten all of this have been shown to improve education outcomes.

We need to get serious about funding our schools and I fully support funding arts programs for our students. We need to educate the whole child and that means fully funding arts education to help stimulate creativity and development in our children.

As State Representative I would:

Increase funding for public school from pre­K to higher education so that every child can get a truly free public education. Period.

Invest in some of the innovations that have worked at charter schools – longer school days, homework support, smaller class sizes – we can’t just say it works – and then not pay for it.

Fight to lower the cost of public college. It is a failure of our system that it costs over $100,000 for in­state students to get a degree from UMass Amherst.

I know that this will all take money – and it’s about time we paid for the things we really care about. That’s why I support the millionaire's tax which increases the tax rate on income over one million dollars and that money goes directly to funding public education and transportation.

Economic Development

There are countless vacant buildings and storefronts from Falmouth to Provincetown, including the Hibel and Armory buildings in downtown Hyannis. What incentive might you use to entice landlords and/or businesses to partner up with our local artists to bring new life to vacant main street buildings? Nonprofit art and cultural organizations support more than 45,000 jobs, spend $2.1 billion annually, and generate another $2.5 billion of economic activity. How will the legislature foster an environment that supports the creative community and tourism across the Commonwealth, and particularly on Cape Cod?

Artists help create a more vibrant and engaging community. However, like so many in our communities ­ seniors living on fixed income, young people just starting out, working families struggling to make ends meet ­ artists can no longer afford to live here. Our district is becoming profoundly unaffordable. I am a strong supporter of housing for all people and will fight for affordable housing on Beacon Hill. This includes providing state incentives and direct investment so that vacant buildings can be transformed into artist living and working spaces.

In addition, I will advocate for more spending on the arts in the budget and matching money for municipalities that invest in the arts.

Addressing Cape Cod’s Socioeconomic Issues

Cape Cod faces many economic and social issues, among them homelessness, addiction, and limited services for both youth and seniors. Can you provide examples on how you would integrate the arts, culture, and creative community in solving the district’s social and economic challenges?

Our campaign is about bringing new energy and experience to create a more affordable, equitable, and vibrant district. The arts help create a vibrant and rich community. In a democratic society, the arts help us experience different perspectives and often express views that help others understand complex cultural issues.

As a result, I will always look for ways to include the arts and the creative community in solving the district’s challenges. Our district faces many challenges around affordable housing, environmental stewardship, and the opioid and heroin epidemic, just to name a few. The creative community should have a seat at the table to help come up with solutions to the issues facing our district.

 

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