John Connolly's Responses to Create the Vote Questionnaire

If you would rather have pdf version, find it here

1. 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?

As mayor, I will make support for the arts and culture a priority. The arts enrich our lives, spark our curiosity, bring us together, and make our city a more interesting, welcoming, and vibrant place to live, work and visit. By doing all of that, the arts also strengthen our economy. One of our greatest economic challenges is keeping skilled and talented workers here in the Boston area, and those workers want a city with a thriving artistic and cultural life. If we attract and retain skilled and talented workers, then we’ll also attract the companies that want to hire them. I will also work to ensure that all Bostonians benefit from the city’s arts and cultural resources, not just downtown but in every neighborhood. I supported the effort by a group of community members to use Bartlett Yard in Roxbury as a community arts space, and I will work to establish a culture at City Hall that works collaboratively to green light more projects like this.

We are fortunate to have incredible arts organizations for young people, like Artists for Humanity, which provides teens with jobs making and selling art; and Zumix, which builds community by teaching young people to play instruments, write songs, and record music, among other things. These programs are helping young people to build self-esteem, giving them the confidence to imagine a positive future for themselves. As mayor, I will do everything I can to support arts organizations working with young people in our neighborhoods, including exploring options to increase direct funding for them.

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John Connolly's Creative Economy Platform

From John Connolly's page "Making Boston A Competitive Job Creator" on his website.

Nurturing The Creative Economy

With world-class museums and universities and our unique history, Boston is in a position to become a leader in the creative economy. The city can support artists by promoting public art and creating space for artists to create and sell their work. As mayor, I will promote efforts to ensure the availability of affordable loft and studio space and would work with artists' groups and nonprofits to create vibrant exhibit spaces and marketplaces throughout the city. 

As mayor, I will remove the red tape that stifles our creative economy. We will retain young talent and have a more vibrant culture as a city if we lift restrictions on businesses that provide space for arts and music. We must also remove barriers to mobile vendors and food trucks and expedite permitting for new restaurants and stores. 

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"We Need More Public Art"

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The Candidates and Public Art

Alex Pearlman of posed this question to the candidates: What's your favorite piece of public art in Boston? Their answers are diverse and insightful, shedding some light on the city as a whole, from the Boston Women’s Memorial on Commonwealth Avenue to The Pear in Edward Everett Square in Dorchester. Pearlman's question forces the candidates to consider the place of art in a public realm and the way it engages passersby. Read the article here to see each candidate's choice.


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Sit-Down Meeting with John Barros - Key Takeaways

Members of the Create the Vote coalition sat down with Boston mayoral candidate John Barros to share our stories and discuss his position on the arts, culture, and creative community in Boston.

Here are the key points and takeaways from our conversation:

  • Background: John Barros’ parents emigrated from Cape Verde, West Africa - where the arts, particularly music, were integral in all aspects of life. He is trained in the djembe – and is a drummer in his church. At the Dudley Street Neighborhood Initiative (DSNI), where he has been the Executive Director for 13 years, Barros used the arts as a community builder. In the late 1980s, when youth violence was prevalent in his neighborhood, Barros decided to work to address the public image of youth by creating a community mural. It took 3 years and over 300 young people to complete, yet the outcome was a piece of public art that the community felt complete ownership of, and helped to build a different identity for at-risk youth.
  • Barros expressed the need for the next mayor of Boston to articulate a bold new vision for the city. He said, “We need to start thinking about the vision for what the city will look like. So far, we have the ‘Eds’ and the ‘Meds,’ - but to start planning a more inclusive Boston, we need to add other essential pillars: The Green Economy, and The Arts.”
  • In realizing this vision, Barros believes that we need strategic, comprehensive planning, and cited the need to develop a cultural policy for the city. Instead of an approach to the creative community in Boston that is tactical and transactional, Barros wants to spearhead a strategic, long-term plan for the arts in the city. He believes that if City Hall leads in this effort, then the rest of the community will follow.
  • Barros emphasized his experience in planning and management with DSNI, and the need for the mayor to have a deep understanding of clear operations in order to accomplish these goals. He wants to bring people from diverse backgrounds and sectors together to form partnerships and work within a transparent system, creating staff positions like “Curator-in-Chief” to head operations and an Arts Commission to come up with a strong vision. In his words: “What we need to do is put strong people in place, under clear vision and goals, empower them to do good work, and then get out of the way.”
  • Finally, Barros identified three specific revenue streams that he would tap into to actualize his vision:

a) Linkage money from developments –he cited his work in affordable housing that would provide valuable experience in utilizing this untapped resource for the arts.

b) Private Funding – he said “we need to have a mayor that is not afraid to make an ask” to private funders to support integrating creative projects throughout the city.

c) Endow an Arts Foundation in Boston – “look at Ted Cutler, we can get another five Teds” to invest in supporting the arts in Boston long term.

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Bill Walczak's Responses to Create the Vote Questionnaire

If you would rather have pdf version, find it here

1). 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?

Arts and culture are vital indicators of a city’s overall health, education and prosperity and at both Codman Square Health Center and Codman Academy Charter Public School, I expanded access to the arts for artists and residents of underserved communities. This includes many initiatives that have brought people together around critical social issues and in celebration of Boston’s rich diversity and historical assets; such as the Peace Tile Project, Boston Arts Millennium, Childhoods Interrupted by War, the Dorchester Artist Spirit and the Boston Landmarks Orchestra, among others.

Codman Academy Charter Public School, which I co-founded, won the state’s highest award in arts and culture from the Massachusetts Cultural Council for our pioneering, in-depth partnership with the Huntington Theatre Company, where the theatre has become an “expeditionary learning” extension of our campus. When violence against youth spiked eight years ago, the partnership created the annual summer Shakespeare production, which continues to this day.  This Thursday and Friday our students will perform on the Calderwood stage at the Boston Center for the Arts through the Huntington Theatre program.  

I have traveled to other communities, from Philadelphia to Belfast, to learn how others have leveraged the arts, culture and the creative community to tackle social problems and build community capacity.  I have also participated in health and cultural missions to countries such as Vietnam and Nigeria to share our culture and connect with immigrant communities here in Boston. 

Under my Administration, Boston’s new Commissioner for Arts & Cultural Affairs will develop a stream of initiatives specifically to tackle social problems; and as one way to process real-time developments like the Boston Marathon bombing and the Trayvon Martin verdict. This work will happen in concert with a cross-section of organizational and individual stakeholders from outside City government; and like all aspects of our evolving priorities for the arts will be supported by inter-departmental City leadership.

My new Creative Industries Office will work with other City departments to integrate the arts into my economic development plan.  For example, I’m proposing a new East Boston Innovation District that could include affordable housing and shared work space for artists.  We also will look at adapting the HandMade in America model to assist home-based craftspeople, often single moms, in our economic development, community revitalization and civic health plans; providing the infrastructure, training and wrap-around services for micro-artists to make the leap from limited home-based production to scaled and profitable enterprises.



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Felix Arroyo's Responses to the Create the Vote Questionnaire

If you would prefer a PDF version, download it here.

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?

Arts, culture, and tourism contribute to the livelihood of our city.  Boston is home to many cultural institutions that make Boston not only a great place to live, but also a great place to visit.  We must support the arts, performances, theatre, music, dance, museums, local artists, cultural exhibits, and creative opportunities that enhance our neighborhoods and contribute to our quality of life.

Boston is a prosperous city and I believe all of our neighborhoods should share in that prosperity.  Developing cultural districts in our city attracts artists, encourages business development, and establishes destinations of cultural experiences for Boston families and visitors.  By supporting living and working space for artists in Boston to thrive and practice their craft, we also promote economic development.

 Integrating the arts, culture and creative community in how we invest in all of our communities will contribute to making all of our neighborhoods economically sustainable.

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House Proposes Drastic Cut for NEA

The U.S House of Representatives Interior Appropriations Subcommittee recently approved its initial FY 2014 funding legislation that proposes a cut of $71 million to the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA). This would bring funding of the NEA down to $75 million, a level not seen since 1974.

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Next mayor should bet big on the arts

In a Boston Globe op-ed, Philip W. Lovejoy, chair of the Boston Center for the Arts, urges the Boston Mayoral Candidates to make "supporting the arts, arts professionals, and cultural institutions a major issue this November". He notes that this is an especially pivotal time for the city and the impact of a mayor who is not just a supporter, but a champion of the arts "will reverberate through every aspect of urban life". Read the whole article here.  


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Dan Conley's Responses to Create the Vote Questionnaire

If you would prefer to have a PDF version, download it here

1. 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?

Boston’s arts, cultural and creative community have been adding exponentially to Boston’s economy and strengthening the social fabric of the city and individual neighborhoods for decades.  These contributions have largely been from the ground up or driven by private and non-profit sectors, with the city itself playing an important but more limited role, particularly when compared with other cities.  The return on investments in the arts, however, is nothing short of spectacular.  It’s estimated that for every one public dollar invested in the arts, there is a $7 private sector investment return.

But the arts also make Boston a much more livable and workable city.  Artists have traditionally been in the vanguard transforming and stabilizing marginal neighborhoods, including dramatic reductions in crime and blight.  They provide a multitude of jobs, often function as small businesses and create spin-off economic activities and benefits too numerous to list, but certainly including retail, galleries, festivals, and live performance spaces.  Their individual and collective contributions add to Boston’s allure as a tourist destination, with the communities themselves often becoming major draws.

Finally, the arts have long provided outlets for individuals looking to express their vision, their hopes, their dreams, their frustrations, and their politics.  The arts are a powerful tool for social change on a large scale and on an individual scale as they are an accessible career and lifestyle path for people from any background and walk of life.

For all of these reasons, as mayor, I am committed to linking local artists into Boston’s public and private development, (housing, business, and entrepreneurial opportunities) to benefit the artist, the community, and to spur added economic spinoffs.  I’ll support artist housing and make that space permanent through deed restrictions and other legal mechanisms.  This housing will be located strategically, in areas that would be less suitable for traditional family housing.  I’ll seek to find and create live and work space for artists (or work only space) that is affordable and benefits city residents.  In addition, I will look to the artist community for new ideas and advice on maintaining and increasing Boston’s allure for tourism and hospitality.

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