MASSCreative Announces Inaugural Cohort of Create the Vote Fellows

 Year-long learning community for grassroots organizers will focus on building and sustaining political power in Massachusetts’ arts and cultural sector

Boston, February 15, 2022―MASSCreative announces that nine artists and creative leaders have been selected to participate in the first class of Create the Vote Fellows. The Create the Vote Fellowship is a yearlong learning community for grassroots organizers focused on building advocacy, creating knowledge, and sustaining political power in Massachusetts’ arts and cultural sector.

“Art and culture are a public good deserving of public support. Yet politicians and other decision makers often take the contributions of cultural organizations, artists, their creations, and the nearly infinite ways in which they make life worth living for granted,” said Emily Ruddock, Executive Director of MASSCreative. “Create the Vote Fellows will be trained in the strategy and tactics of effective political advocacy and organizing. They will learn how to build and sustain political power to ensure public investment and attention to the arts and cultural organizations and people who contribute so much to the quality of our lives and the health of our communities.”

The Create the Vote Fellowship will cultivate a cadre of cultural leaders from all levels of the field who will build and sustain political power in Massachusetts’ arts and cultural sector. Over the course of the yearlong Fellowship, they will develop their grassroots organizing knowledge and strengthen their professional networks through shared learning, networking, and mentorship. A key feature of the Fellowship will be co-designing a strategy to strengthen and support local and regional networks of arts and cultural advocates. Create the Vote Fellows will also work collaboratively with a broader coalition of arts and cultural advocates in the Commonwealth to engage voters and candidates in the 2022 statewide elections. The Create the Vote Fellowship is funded by the Barr Foundation.

"Artists often serve as cultural and community leaders, but they need sustained support and resources to build political power and advocate for a better future for themselves, their peers, and their communities," said Giles Li, Barr's Senior Program Officer for Arts & Creativity. "We are proud to support the Create the Vote initiative that works with Fellows to build power and knowledge for a thriving arts and cultural sector in Massachusetts."

This inaugural class of Create the Vote Fellows was developed by soliciting recommendations for participation by racially and linguistically diverse leaders throughout the state’s arts and cultural sector. The 2022 Create the Vote Fellows, listed below, represent a diverse range of disciplines, organizational sizes, and regions of the state:

  • Julia Csekö, she/her, Visual Artist/Independent Curator/Educator, in Somerville. 
  • Ana Masacote, she/her, Founder, Dance to Power, in Lynn.
  • Marissa Molinar, she/her, Director, Midday Movement Series, in Cambridge.
  • Hank Von Hellion, he/him, Managing Director, Worcester PopUp at the JMAC in Worcester.
  • Kim Jones, she/her, Owner and Operator, Strong Style Coffee, in Fitchburg.
  • Cliff Notez, they/them, Multimedia artist and entrepreneur, HipStory, in Boston.
  • Lesley Marchessault, she/her, Chief Development Officer at Provincetown Art Association and Museum, in Provincetown.
  • Candida Rose Baptista, she/her, Vocalist, in New Bedford.
  • Lia Russell Self, they/them, Writer, West Stockbridge.

About MASSCreative

MASSCreative works with artists, cultural councils, cultural organizations and the broader creative community to build a Commonwealth where arts and creativity are an expected, recognized, and valued part of everyday life. Working with our coalition of 400 arts and cultural organizations and artists from across the Commonwealth, MASSCreative uses public education and awareness, grassroots organizing, advocacy campaigns, and other civic and political engagement to ensure that arts, culture, and creativity are considered when important policy and political decisions get made at the state and local level.

About the Barr Foundation

The Barr Foundation’s mission is to invest in human, natural, and creative potential, serving as thoughtful stewards and catalysts. Based in Boston, Barr focuses regionally, and selectively engages nationally, working in partnership with nonprofits, foundations, the public sector, and civic and business leaders to elevate the arts, advance solutions for climate change, and connect all students to success in high school and beyond. Founded in 1997, Barr now has assets in excess of $3 billion, and has contributed more than $1 billion to charitable causes. For more information, visit and @BarrFdn on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.

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published this page in Press 2022-02-15 10:14:39 -0500

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