Check out WBUR’s The ARTery new coverage of Boston mayoral campaign and the arts

Boston mayoral candidates John Connolly and Marty Walsh are already on record promising to appoint a cabinet-level arts commissioner; invest in arts and cultural initiatives; and implement a policy plan that integrates arts and cultural planning with other city priorities including education, economic development, public safety, housing, and transportation. But WBUR’s The ARTery published interviews with both candidates on Saturday in which they talk in more detail about their plans for arts and culture within their administration.  

In his interview, Connolly notes:

“I think the arts connects to everything in this city, and that as a real connective force the arts have to be prioritized. Arts help keep many of our young people in schools. And there are legitimate career pathways in the arts today that weren’t there 20 years ago, particularly when you link technology and the creative economy to the arts. We talk a lot about STEM [science, technology, engineering and math] education. If I’m mayor, we’re going to talk about STEAM and we’re going to add arts to that equation. I want every child to have arts on a regular basis, every year they’re in school. It’s also connective from a cultural standpoint. In a city with a real equity divide and a lot of divides along race and class lines, the arts can bring us together. I don’t underestimate that power.”

He also adds:

I want to champion the arts. I want to be a mayor where you’re going to see my family and me out celebrating our arts community at performances across the city on a regular basis. I’m going to make this a real focus as mayor. 

In his interview, Walsh says:

“People are going to see a lot more public art, year-round programming in Boston. That’s one of the first things people are going to see and understand. The mayor’s been talking a lot about creating a park of statues in Boston. … The youth engagement in schools, in free art programs around the city. Hopefully getting our colleges and universities to partner with us. People are going to see a lot more there. We have an initiative called Artists First initiative. It’s going to address the occupational health needs of artists, professional development, creating more affordable arts space, and fair trade and artist compensation. Right there the artist community is going to feel an impact, maybe not the first month of the administration, but within the first 90 to 180 days, where they’re actually going to feel that there’s actually somebody in their corner advocating on their behalf. It’s kind of all those little pieces which add up to what people see in the streets. We’re using the city archives to promote programs and using the city webpage. We’re going to revamp the webpage. There’s going to be a lot more, people are going to see it and be invited into the arts community a lot more than they have been today. Just helping the artists with marketing.”

As a companion to the two candidate interviews, the ARTery ran a piece exploring what the city might get from its next mayor in terms of the arts. Emphasizing that Boston today is markedly different from the Boston of even just four or five years ago, reporter Greg cook writes:

It reflects the room for different ideas in the first open mayoral race in 20 years. It reflects a national trend of cultural communities asserting their influence. It reflects the major success of the Create the Vote campaign—lead by the arts advocacy group MassCreative …

Overall our goal is to help build a more vibrant and connected Boston and Massachusetts,” says MassCreative Executive Director Matthew Wilson. “We think there’s going to be a big change out of City Hall. And we think it’s going to provide a big lift to the city as a whole.” 

Last, The ARTery published an interview today with MASSCreative Executive Director Matt Wilson about the Create the Vote campaign and its goals:

We looked at this campaign as the first time in 20 years that there’s been a real serious and honest discussion about Boston and what’s the vision down the road. We wanted to make sure arts culture and creativity was part of that discussion.

As John Connolly stated in his recent public meeting with the Create the Vote coalition, the arts have definitely been a part of the campaign: “I ran for City Council four times before and now for mayor and I don’t think we ever talked about the arts before. What you’re doing now is exactly what you should be doing. You’ve been the signature advocacy group in this campaign.”


Now it’s up to you. Polls in Boston will be open tomorrow, November 5, from 7am to 8pm. Click here to find your polling location.

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