Karen Cirillo's Response to the Arts & Culture Questionnaire

Personal Connection
1. In what personal manner are you currently supporting the creative community?  Can you list the last two cultural events you attended that were not a campaign opportunity?

This is a great question. The personal way that I am supporting the creative community in Lowell is that I buy local. I buy all of my gifts for friends and family, and items for my own use locally to support the Lowell artisan community.

Two cultural events I have been to in Lowell recently are the Lowell Puerto Rican Festival and the Brazilian Food Festival. I had a great time eating fantastic food and listening to live music. 

2. How will you work to support and grow the creative economy in Lowell?

I will do this by looking into the new tax in which the City of Lowell has added to your costs. I would like to repeal this tax and bring more opportunities to artisans by showing them what a wonderful place Lowell is because of the support we give to our creative community.

3. How can the city incorporate arts into the city design and planning process?

I feel the City needs to have better open communication with our arts and cultural groups. While I work a 40 hour a week job in Boston as an Assistant Project Manager for a Construction Company, I am also an artist. I have donated works of art to charity events. Two of my drawings have sold in London for charity. I know that with the input of such a diverse and vitally important group in Lowell, we as a City will be all the better for it. 

4. How can the city support more public art initiatives?    

The City can support more public art initiatives by speaking with the arts community and asking how we can do this. I have and idea of a show in which we have local works of art distributed throughout our parks and have a day of people walking around Lowell to view them and possibly after the show is over, purchase them. I think this would be a wonderful day of fun for everyone involved. Let's start talking and see what ideas we can come up with. I will support this.

City Investment in the Arts

5. Do you believe the art and creative community positively impacts our local economy? How?

Yes. How you do this is by showcasing your works and having people purchase them. This helps our Lowell economy thrive. I feel the creative community in Lowell is one of the largest and most important groups that helps our City to succeed.

6. Will you commit to increasing the investment in the arts and cultural community in Lowell by supporting motions that increase funding to that community?

Yes, absolutely.

Diversity & Inclusion in Arts & Culture

7. What is your opinion about the current cultural landscape in Lowell and how can we make it more inclusive?

One of the reasons why I came to live in this wonderful City was because I felt Lowell was very forward thinking in our inclusion of all the diverse groups. Eight years ago I was diagnosed with an aggressive breast cancer and instead of going to Boston, I decided on the Lowell General Cancer Care Unit. The diversity and goodness of my team of doctors impressed me. The people of Lowell and their kindness while I was going through this impressed me. I feel the cultural communities of Lowell are doing a great job being inclusive. There are ways we can improve though, and this is by partnering with the other groups to work towards mutual goals. Another way is getting more women involved. Women make up half the population in Lowell so lets have our voices heard because we have the power to change and improve the landscape of Lowell for the better.

8. Can you provide examples of how you do and would integrate the arts, culture, and creative community in ways that would support the racial, ethnic, socioeconomic diversity and youth?

I would say first, everything starts with education. I am a supporter of arts and creativity in our schools. I want to have our teachers focus less on rigidity, and more on their individual teaching styles to show by example. Let's talk to our students and have a day of art throughout our schools. Art in the park (sculptures, to jewelry, and clothing) with all the different artisans from different cultures in the different parks around Lowell. How wonderful it would be to have local artists having a showing in North Common Park, while having others in Kerouac Park, etc. Let's get the lines of communication open and start talking and brainstorming to make your suggestions possible.




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