Malden Arts Leaders Meet with State Rep Candidate Steve Ultrino; Candidate Pledges To Work To Increase Funding for the Arts

October 20, 2014—MASSCreative announced today that arts and cultural leaders in Malden met with candidate for state representative Steve Ultrino to discuss the candidate’s vision for the creative community in the 33rd Middlesex House District.

Ultrino, a Malden City Councilor, described the importance of a strong partnership between elected officials and the arts community, saying that in a city as diverse as Malden, the arts are an important way for different populations to express their culture and creativity.

During the discussion, Ultrino also voiced his support for the Massachusetts Cultural Council (MCC), citing Window Arts Malden as a great example of how MCC grants can stimulate connection in downtown neighborhoods. Window Arts Malden is an annual event in which downtown storefronts and other sites in Malden display the work of local artists. “As [someone] who has seen first-hand the benefits of these grants in my community, I would fight to maintain and increase MCC funding,” Ultrino said. 

The candidate discussed his long history as an educator, stating that he supported making the arts an essential subject for students. Ultrino said that his experiences as a high school teacher and working as the Director of Education at the Middlesex Sheriff’s Department showed him firsthand the positive impact arts programs can make. “Giving [inmates] a voice [through art] not only aides their mental health and personal development, but it also enables them to contribute their ideas to help others,” Ultrino said.

Ultrino noted that it can be hard to generate support for increased investment in the arts. But he added: “Nonprofit arts and cultural organizations add both to the quality of life of our citizens and to a region’s economic success. … I would be open to ideas for incentives that our government could put in place that would encourage the expansion of arts and cultural organizations across the Commonwealth .”

“Nonprofit arts and cultural organizations in Massachusetts support more than 45,000 jobs, spend $2.1 billion annually, and generate another $2.5 billion of economic activity,” said Matt Wilson, Executive Director of MASSCreative. “We see the impact of the arts locally here in Malden through the work of the local cultural councils, which make the arts accessible to young children, students, families, and older adults. They also help support working artists. We look forward to working with lawmakers in the next legislative session to ensure that the Commonwealth is getting the most out of its investment in the arts.”

Arts leaders met with Ultrino at Treetop Suites and Gallery in Malden on Oct. 15. Attendees included Candace Julyan of Malden Arts; Arts Educator Sharon Santillo; Mei Hung of the Chinese Culture Connection; and Amanda Linehan of the Metro Area Planning Council.

MASSCreative is meeting with candidates through the Create the Vote Coalition—a collaboration of Massachusetts arts, cultural, and creative institutions convened by MASSCreative. The Create the Vote Coalition is also asking candidates for governor and state legislative office to fill out an arts questionnaire.

State representative candidate Steve Ultrino’s answers to the Create the Vote candidate questionnaire are available here:

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.




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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