In his state of the city address last night, Boston Mayor Marty Walsh pledged to “invest $1 million in artists.” His administration, Walsh said, is “deepening our commitment to arts and culture.”
Mayor Walsh is not the only municipal leader in Massachusetts who recognizes the value of arts and culture in civic life. In cities around the state, like Boston, where MASSCreative ran Create the Vote campaigns by partnering with local cultural leaders to raise awareness and support for the arts among voters and candidates running for public office, we are seeing new support for the arts.
Fitchburg’s newly-elected Mayor Stephen DiNatale devoted a significant amount of time in his state of the city address Jan. 4 to the special role that arts plays in to the health of the city:
“Finally, we are a city that recognizes the importance of the arts and culture. They serve as a medium for diversity and can be used as a springboard to celebrate the advantages of our cultural diversity.
I intend to actively promote a nurturing environment so that our art and culture activities will grow and flourish.
By mobilizing our home-grown institutions such as the Fitchburg Art Museum, Fitchburg Historical Society, Fitchburg State University and other cultural commissions and not-for-profit groups, we will create an advantage for the ReImagine North of Main initiative. Rest assured I will remain a strong advocate to keep arts and culture programs in Fitchburg.
Likewise, I will wholeheartedly welcome to our community those individuals, organizations, and programs that will enhance our already outstanding activities. Similar to the importance of the business economy, Fitchburg must and will capitalize on the potential growth and expansion that the creative economy can foster.”
Medford’s new Mayor Stephanie Muccini Burke addressed the arts specifically in her inaugural address:
“As to Arts & Culture: Make Chevalier Theatre a centerpiece and the hub for our focus on humanities. Complete the studio for public access. Create a home for our arts. A Focus on the Arts STARTS TODAY!”
Burke added that she also wants to “create a streetscape to bring life to our business district,” and to create unique mixed-use designs for all of the city squares. Her support signals a new day for the arts in Medford, as the Medford Transcript noted in a December piece titled Medford Ins & Outs 2015. The arts scene was “definitely IN.” – “City officials have put more money towards the arts in the fiscal budget and the Medford Arts Council has been very active, even holding an arts and culture summit. Residents also continue flocking to CACHE events, such as Circle the Square and Arts Across Medford throughout the year.”
Finally, Worcester Mayor Joe Petty gave a shout out to the creative economy in his inaugural speech, which was held at Hanover Theatre, and called on private developers to fund a public art program: “A city such as Worcester must also celebrate its arts and its creative economy. Our buildings are part of our cityscape and part of our public space. We have begun a very successful mural program, such as on the wall of this theater and in the Canal District. We must expand this program. In addition, we must institute a public art program. I am calling upon every large developer in Worcester to set aside money for public art.”