Create the Vote 2018: Gubernatorial Candidate Bob Massie Meets with MASSCreative Leadership Council

By Kate Huffman, MASSCreative Leadership Council

Members of the MASSCreative Leadership Council kicked off Create the Vote 2018 on January 26 with a meeting with Democratic gubernatorial candidate Bob Massie and his campaign manager.

Create the Vote 2018 is a nonpartisan campaign to raise awareness of the ways that arts and creative expression improve schools, strengthen local business districts, and build vibrant neighborhoods in which people want to live, work, and play. Members of the campaign are meeting with candidates for governor of Massachusetts to talk about their views on the arts and cultural community and the role that culture, creativity, and the arts should play in a gubernatorial administration.

“We don’t have much time here—we should be doing the things we love and not thinking incrementally!” said Massie of the approach a governor should have to the arts.

“My job as an artist is to help people see what isn’t there,” Massie added, quoting his wife, Anne Tate, who is a professor of architecture at Rhode Island College of Design.

Massie said he applies Tate’s philosophy in his approach to politics and civic engagement. He expressed his understanding of the arts as a vital part of the fabric of our everyday lives, as well as a way to connect with one another and to talk with others about our beliefs.

Massie’s campaign manager and former Mayor of Seattle, Michael McGinn, emphasized Massie’s point, noting that art isn’t just a nice additive to civic life, but is integral to people's lives.

“Art isn’t what we do, it's how we do our work,” McGinn said.

Massie said that he wants artists to be actively involved in his campaign, as well as in his platform creation process. He is currently working with artists and musicians across the state to create songs for his campaign. As the caucuses to determine the Democratic candidate approach, Massie said he wants to put out an overarching statement for his support of the arts and quickly get to work on concrete policies and steps to achieve them. He invited members of the public to contribute ideas by contacting his campaign.

As a long-time Somerville resident, Massie also talked about the transformation he has seen in the community and the role the arts has played with events such as Somerville Open Studios, ArtBeat, Porchfest, and the Mystic Mural Project. Being a progressive leader is something that Massie holds as a central component to his campaign and his identity. He expressed the same sentiment toward the arts and culture, saying that he aims to be the strongest pro-arts Governor Massachusetts has ever had and wants to make Massachusetts one of the strongest states in the country for state support of the arts.

Massie holds a degree in Divinity from Yale and a doctorate from Harvard Business School. He is an activist and author who addresses issues of corporate accountability, social justice, and climate change. Massie is one of three candidates campaigning to be the Democratic gubernatorial nominee, who will face incumbent Republican Governor Charlie Baker in the general election. The other Democratic candidates are Setti Warren, former Mayor of Newton and candidate for U.S. Senate in 2012, and Jay Gonzales, former State Secretary of Administration and Finance.


(From left to right: Emily Ruddock, MASSCreative; Nicky Enriquez, MassArt; Matt Wilson, MASSCreative; Jason McCool, Aeronaut Brewery; Bob Massie, Gubernatorial Candidate; Kate Huffman, Encore Tours; Gary Dunning, Celebrity Series of Boston; Amy Neill, Cultural Center of Cape Cod; and Karen Ristuben, Rocky Neck Art Colony)

During Create the Vote 2017, MASSCreative and arts leaders around the state raised awareness of the arts in 118 races, including 13 mayoral and city council elections and three special elections. They helped organized two forums for candidates and voters and published five opeds in media outlets in Springfield, Cambridge, Fitchburg, Framingham, and Barnstable.

Create the Vote was also a significant presence during 2016 legislative races on the Cape and Islands and in the Berkshires, and in 2015 mayoral campaigns in Fitchburg, Gloucester, Medford, New Bedford, and Worcester. During the 2014 gubernatorial race, Create the Vote hosted six candidates at the first-ever Gubernatorial Forum on Arts, Culture, and Creativity; met with candidates; and publicized 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.

Follow the campaign on Twitter with the hashtag #CreateTheVote. You can also “like” us on Facebook for updates, follow us on Twitter @MASSCreative, and visit

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