Michael Ross' Responses to Create the Vote's Questionnaire

Addressing Citywide Issues:
 Just as any other major city, Boston faces many economic and social issues. Can you provide examples on how you would integrate the arts, culture, and creative community in solving social problems? How would you use our community to drive economic development in the city?

The arts and the creative community of Boston offer countless opportunities to inspire and engage our residents in addressing the range of economic and social challenges facing our city. The creative industry offers pathways for economic prosperity for diverse residents of Boston, as well as provides outlets for creative solutions to issues like public safety and education. As Mayor, I will implement a strong Arts and Cultural Agenda that supports the arts and helps creative economy thrive and empowers the creative community to have a greater role in addressing pressing issues we face as a city. 

A smart, focused plan for the creative community will leverage Boston’s rich ecosystem of arts groups, non-profits, institutions, and schools to bring expanded programming into Boston Public Schools, neighborhoods, and parks to provide positive outlets and pathways for our young people, both in and out of school. I will bring art into all of our schools as well as introduce young people to career paths in the creative industries. I will strengthen programs like the Mayor’s Mural Crew program to empower young people to make positive contributions to their neighborhoods. Additionally, by supporting the growth of businesses in the creative industry Boston can create jobs and opportunities that spans across the neighborhoods of Boston helping bring further economic development to the city through the arts.

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Samuel Harrison Society Restores Cultural Treasure

The Samuel Harrison Society was awarded a $63,000 Cultural Facilities Fund grant to help pay for the historical restoration improvements at the house.  The Cultural Facilities Fund grant served as a portion of the matching funds required of the National Park Service Save America’s Treasures grant that was also used to help pay for the improvements.  The Samuel Harrison House is listed on both the State and National Historic Registers and was the residence of Samuel Harrison and his family.  Samuel Harrison was the chaplain of the famous 54th all black regiment that fought for the north in the Civil War.  The movie “Glory” starring Denzel Washington was based on the 54th regiment’s heroics.  Samuel Harrison also fought for equal pay for black soldiers which eventually was granted while Abraham Lincoln was President.
As Governor Patrick is aware, the Berkshires have many, many beautiful and important cultural and historical venues that have benefited from Mass Cultural Council funding.  Maintaining these important buildings and venues is key to a strong economy so it is extremely important to continue funding programs that keep our vibrant heritage alive and well.  Allocating the remaining $26 million to the Cultural Facilities Fund will certainly help to preserve the State’s treasures.
Bonnie Galant, Dept. of Community Development
Below are before and after photos of the Samuel Harrison House located at 82 Third Street in Pittsfield, MA.  
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MASSCreative Meets with Boston Mayoral Candidate state Rep. Marty Walsh

Candidate pledges to create cabinet-level administration position dedicated to arts, culture, and tourism, but support for PILOT program raises caution


BOSTON, August 21, 2013—MASSCreative announces today that Boston mayoral candidate state Rep. Marty Walsh met with the Create the Vote Coalition Aug. 13 to talk about his vision for the arts in Boston.

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MASSCreative Meets With Boston Mayoral Candidate John Barros

Candidate cites need for comprehensive cultural policy plan to support the arts, and proposes three new revenue streams to support the sector


BOSTON, August 21, 2013—MASSCreative announces today that Boston mayoral candidate John Barros, executive director of the Dudley Street Neighborhood Initiative, met with the Create the Vote Coalition July 31 to talk about his vision for the arts in Boston. 

The Create the Vote Coalition is a collaboration of Boston arts, cultural, and creative institutions convened by MASSCreative. Create the Vote is working to ensure that the candidates for Mayor develop strong platforms to support the sector. Ultimately, Create the Vote aims to bring public attention to the issues of the arts sector and its fundamental importance to the city and state’s overall quality of life. 

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Walnut Hill Expands Facility

Walnut Hill School for the Arts in Natick provides intensive training to the next generation of artists, and offers a vibrant roster of performances and events to the community. We are currently seeking funds for a new multi-purpose performance space on campus that would open up an array of artistic possibilities for students and help us to continue to serve as an arts hub in Metrowest. Governor Patrick, by exposing more youth to art we develop innovative, compassionate leaders of tomorrow - help Massachusetts to keep art alive by allocating the remaining $26 million in the Cultural Facilities Fund. 



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Narrows Center for the Arts: Serving the South Shore

"Without the Narrows, the South Shore and South Coast of Massachusetts would be denied a wonderful venue to see and hear art.  

My husband and I have been patrons and donors for most of the time the Narrows has been in existence.  We have attended concerts and view exhibits in the dead of summer braving the heat.  Fortunately the Narrows received a 2013 Cultural Facilities Fund grant and we can look forwarded to very cool concerts, not just the artists but in temperature.

The Narrows is located in a renovated textile mill. It is truly a wonder and shows the ingenuity of arts and cultural organizations who want to reach the public.  Without the Narrows many of us would be deprived of the "up close and personal" performances where you can reach out and touch the artists.  Many local artists would not be given a start as they are often the warm-up acts for the bigger names. And then there is the jobs created by the organization and the other economic benefits brought to the local area.

Many arts and cultural institutions do not maintain adequate cash reserve for repairs and maintenance and/or regulations change and they don't have the funds to comply (think the Station Nightclub Fire and how it changed the fire regulations for institutions open to the public).  Allocating all or a portion of the $26M would permit arts and cultural institutions to make the repairs and upgrades before they get even more expensive and dire."

-Susan Hammond
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The Possibilites at Passim

Our friends across the River at Passim need some love from the Cultural Facilities Fund. Imagine what Passim and other venues just like it could do if we all convince Governor Patrick to allocate the remaining $26 million of the Cultural Facilities Fund.

"The Massachusetts Cultural Facilities Fund has provided significant help to Cambridge to maintain and enrich both the arts and the community.  Cambridge has received $400K for construction of the Maud Morgan Visual Arts Center, $169K for ART, $250K for the Cambridge Center for Adult Education and $192,000 for completion of the Central Square Theater. Harvard University has offered to sell Passim the building that has housed us for more than half a century.  A major grant from MCFF will help us raise the money to be able to consummate the purchase.  The result will be an increased capacity to achieve our mission, including being able to provide complete handicap accessibility."

-Dan Hogan, Executive Director, Passim

Does your space need some love from the Cultural Facilities Fund? Send photos and your story to Tracie: [email protected] and we'll share them with the Governor.       






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Meet the Berkshire Museum

Meet the Berkshire Museum. Another reason for Governor Patrick to allocate the remaining $26 million of the Cultural Facilites Fund in the last year of this cycle.

The Berkshire Museum, a cultural center in the Berkshires for 110 years, serves 85,000 visitors annually and provides more than 16,000 individual educational experiences to local students in science and the arts. Support from the Cultural Facilities Fund has made a critical difference in ensuring the Museum is safe and accessible for all visitors and that collections and exhibitions are preserved for future generations.

-Laurie Werner, Director of Campaign and Major Gifts, Berkshire Museum








Want to share your story? Send a picture and short story about your favorite cultural venue and why the Cultural Facilities Fund matters to your community. Email Tracie:  [email protected]

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Apple Tree Arts Restores Historic Facility

We're featuring a facility each day for the next 30 days and compiling them for Governor Deval Patrick. If you'd like to see your favorite cultural venue on this blog, email [email protected] with a picture and short blurb about the venue and why the Cultural Facility Fund is important for this facility.

The shared vision of Apple Tree Arts and the Town of Grafton includes the restoration of The Grafton Town House, a nineteenth-century historical treasure representing a true “back to the future” solution to an underutilized and neglected space.

The arts inspire creativity and tell us something about what it means to be alive as individuals as well as in our community.  Continued support from the Mass Cultural Facilities Fund will have a major impact on the success of the preservation of this architecturally significant building, to help maintain the integrity and character of the Grafton Common Historic District and to help foster our mission of enriching and connecting lives through the arts.  

- Donna Blanchard, Executive Director

See the facility in 1887 and present day. Click here for more about this cultural facility.


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Where Art Meets Politics

Hayley Levitt of Theater Mania wrote an in-depth piece about MASSCreative’s Create the Vote campaign, highlighting the duties of an Arts Voter.

As Levitt notes, many arts leaders are wary to engage in politics, and yet, they forget about the political potential of creative movements. In an attempt to capture this political potential, Create the Vote will hold an Arts Forum at the Paramount Theatre on September 9th where the candidates and the public can come together to discuss the future of the arts.

Read the article here.


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Community Impact