Jason Lewis Response

Your Personal Connection

We've all had defining moments in our lives. What personal experience with arts, culture, or creativity had an impact on your life and your view of the community?

Arts in our community allow people to come together.  In Winchester, my home town, the Chamber of Commerce holds an annual event near Halloween where children are able to paint windows of local businesses.  Seeing the way that art  brings communities together – business, family, community – is a true testament of how important arts and culture are and can be.

 

Arts and Culture in Your District

Art and culture plays a role in the Commonwealth from Boston and the Gateway Cities and our rural and suburban towns.  Please provide us with a story of the impact a local arts or cultural institution brings to your district.

Arts and cultural institutions bring vibrancy to our communities.  In my communities, I have seen efforts to paint electric and utility boxes, which both beautifies our cities and towns as well as offer opportunities for local artists and community groups to connect with communities.  This month, the city of Malden is hosting an art fair where local businesses feature the work of local artists in the windows.  This brings our community out to support not just the artists, but also brings economic development through the promotion of more traffic to our local businesses.  These are just two examples of how cultural and arts organizations bring life and vibrancy to our communities. 

 

Arts Education and Programs for our Youth

Creativity and innovation are vital skills in a student’s education. While many communities have access to quality arts education, many youth are still being left out of the creative community. How will you champion arts education for our youth both in our schools and in our communities? How will you balance the importance of arts education with the constant pull to “teach to the test”? 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? Do you support adding ‘arts’ into the Commonwealth’s STEM program to transform it to STEAM?

I believe arts education is fundamental to a well-rounded education.  We know that children who learn music perform better in math and language, and art provides skills ranging from coordination to creativity and confidence.  I believe that we should examine options to include all necessary educational opportunities for all children in our schools through longer school days or longer school years.  I absolutely support changing STEM to STEAM.

 

Economic Development

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 ecosystem which supports the creative community and industry across the Commonwealth?

We need to continue to support the Massachusetts Cultural Council as well as create new programs to promote art and culture jobs and opportunities.

 

The Commonwealth’s Support and Role in the Creative Community

  • Last year, Massachusetts invested $12 million in organizational support through the Massachusetts Cultural Council (MCC) for the creative community, ranking it ninth in the country. In 1988, the MCC gave out more than $27 million in grants, more than twice what we do now. At what level would you fund the MCC?

I support funding the MCC at a high level, taking into account the many needs of the Commonwealth that are funded through the annual budget.

 

  • For the past two years, Governor Patrick allocated $15 million in matching grants through the Massachusetts Cultural Facilities Fund to support the maintenance, repair, and rebuilding of the Commonwealth’s cultural facilities. At what level do you suggest the Commonwealth fund this program?

I support Governor Patrick’s efforts to create these matching grant programs and hope that, should they prove successful, that we expand them to provide even more support for the arts and culture community.

 

  • Would you develop or dedicate a revenue stream to provide a sustainable and stable funding stream for the arts, cultural, and creative community?

I am open to discussing ideas to create a sustainable and stable funding stream for the arts and creative community.  

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