Create the Vote Cape Cod - Meeting with the Senate Candidates

Arts Leaders Meet With Candidates for State Senate

September 2, 2016—MASSCreative and the Arts Foundation of Cape Cod announced today that leaders and supporters of arts and culture on Cape Cod met with the four candidates for State Senate James Crocker, Julian Cyr, Sheila Lyons and Anthony Schiavi at the Arts Foundation of Cape Cod to discuss the candidate’s vision for the creative community on Cape Cod.

Schiavi emphasized the role arts and culture play in community building, from economic benefits to social impact. Schiavi, a former Town Manager in Ashland talked about how he helped support the Ashland Arts Alliance with town resources.

“As a former Town Manager of Ashland, I worked closely with the Ashland Arts Alliance to bring a public parks project to life. The site had been badly contaminated causing sickness and deaths due to cancer. We decided to create a public art project that was also a memorial for those who had been victims of the contamination. It’s a project I’m very proud of.”

When asked about addressing Cape Cod’s socioeconomic issues, Crocker, a local developer, said,“On social issues- we don’t have all the people we need on the Cape with the opioid/homeless problems. A way we could create jobs for artists is by paying them to teach arts programming for these people as a method of treatment for those struggling. Nonprofits don’t have a level of funding where they can perform, they’re responding with what they can given their grant funding and what it requires.”

Cyr shared his experiences on arts programming for our youth, “ I have seen firsthand how arts throughout my elementary, secondary, and undergraduate education has made a difference in my life. Evidence is well-established that arts education improves qualitative comprehension and quantitative competence. My only reservation is that such a requirement must not penalize students who attend under-resourced public schools with limited or no meaningful arts education programs. Too often, the public schools with the best arts and music resources are those that serve the most privileged communities.”

Lyons said she would “support making arts a mandatory discipline in schools. In other words I support changing STEM to STEAM.” She also said, “the arts add a humanity to everyday life.  Civic engagement needs to be brought back into our education.”

“Nonprofit arts and cultural organizations in Massachusetts support more than 45,000 jobs, spend $2.1 billion annually, and generate another $2.5 billion of economic activity,” said Matt Wilson, Executive Director of MASSCreative. “We see the impact of the arts locally here in Hyannis and across Barnstable County through the work of more than 400 nonprofit arts and cultural organizations that support approximately 7,000 jobs and make the arts accessible to young children, students, families, and older adults. They also help support working artists. We look forward to working with lawmakers in the next legislative session to ensure that the Commonwealth is getting the most out of its investment in the arts.”

The Coalition includes:

  • Matt Wilson - MASSCreative
  • Lauren Wolk - Cultural Center of Cape Cod
  • Peter Franklin - Highfield Hall
  • Julie Wake - Arts Foundation of Cape Cod
  • Tracie Konopinski - MASSCreative
  • Cherie Mittenthal - Castle Hill
  • Bruce Bierhans - Arts Foundation of Cape Cod Board Chair
  • Erin Madden - Arts Foundation of Cape Cod Executive Board Member
  • David Kuehn - Cotuit Center for the Arts
  • Janet Lesniak - Wellfleet Preservation Hall
  • Nina Schuessler - Cape Cod Theater Company
  • Tamara Harper - Cape Cod Theater Company
  • John Allen - JFK Museum
  • Wendy O’Keefe - Arts Foundation of Cape Cod

“Arts and culture are as fundamental to our regional identity as sand dunes and salty air. We are a community that truly values the enormous contribution the arts make to Cape Cod, said Julie Wake, Executive Director of the Arts Foundation of Cape Cod. “The Create the Vote Campaign helps us strengthen the arts through an open dialogue with political candidates and our legislative leaders.”

The Create the Vote Coalition also asked candidates for state senate and state representative to fill out an arts questionnaire. Responses can be found at the following link:

On November 1, the Arts Foundation of Cape Cod will host the Creative Exchange, a spin-off of the Creative Collaborative. At the end of the event, the Create the Vote Cape Cod Coalition will be holding an Arts and Cultural Debate with the candidates for Senate starting at 5:30 at the DoubleTree in Hyannis. The debate will be hosted by Mindy Todd and Sean Corcoran of WCAI.  The debate is open to the public and is free.


Founded in 2012, MASSCreative works with creative leaders and entrepreneurs, working artists, arts educators, and arts and cultural supporters to empower creative organizations and the public with a powerful voice to advocate for the resources and support necessary to build vibrant and connected communities.

The Arts Foundation of Cape Cod (AFCC) is the regional arts agency for Barnstable County and Cape Cod’s only nonprofit arts and culture organization that serves all artists, all art forms, and all cultural and historical centers. The Arts Foundation is the link between the Cape’s cultural community and its residents and visitors.   

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