Gary Rosen's Response to Worcester Cultural Coalition's Questionnaire

Just as any other city, Worcester faces many economic and social issues. Can you provide examples as to how you would integrate the arts, culture and creative community in solving social problems? How would you use the creative community to drive economic development in the city?

  • The members of the Worcester City Council do not have a monopoly on experience and wisdom when it comes to seeking and implementing solutions to social problems and driving economic development. It makes sense for us to enlist the assistance of members of the creative community. Since I am a proponent of the establishment of Neighborhood Councils, as outlined in the largely-ignored Article 8 of the city’s Home Rule Charter, I suggest that a few initial Neighborhood Councils, led by members of the creative community, be piloted in areas of the city that have longstanding social challenges. These Councils would be able to survey the needs of area residents and families before introducing projects leading to enriching their lives with the arts and culture. 

What revenue sources will you create or use to increase the city’s investment in the creative community? 

  • Worcester must exhaust all efforts to identify, seek and obtain grants from individuals and foundations whose mission is to promote culture and the arts. Also, certain areas of the city qualify for federal block grant funds, so the creative community should consider implementing projects in those areas and then apply accordingly for HUD funding. 

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

  • The one I still remember had a negative impact on my younger years. When my brother and I were children, we had the opportunity to learn how to play an instrument. However, my dad nixed that idea because, he said neither my brother nor I could sing. He was right about us not being able to sing, but he was so wrong about not introducing us to music and instruments at an early age. Hopefully, most parents today have more musical wisdom than my dad did and they encourage their children to draw, dance, act, sing and play an instrument. 

Worcester is being touted as a creative city with public art, festivals and dozens of cultural organizations. Through the WOOcard program, the Worcester Cultural Coalition is trying to brand Worcester as being creative and to leverage the strength of our members to attract more residents, college students, and visitors. How would you utilize the creative community to make Worcester a great place to live, learn, work and play?  

  • Worcester needs to publicize , maybe even brag a bit, about the popularity and state of the arts here. Perhaps our Wayfinding project could help get the message out. But if it is really the “creative community,” I’m sure it can also improve its efforts to let individuals, families and businesses, among others, know of all the talent and arts opportunities here that make our city great. 
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