Melvin Edwards' Response to the Arts & Culture Questionnaire

1. Personal Connection

Springfield is blessed with a rich mix of arts and cultural organizations.  Please name two places where you have had personally significant arts and/or cultural experiences.  How have these organizations positively affected your life? 

Growing up in Springfield, one of my elementary schools was Cathedral Grammar on Elliot St. Because of the proximity of the Quadrangle and National Armory Historic Site I was quite often found spending time after school at one of these two sites. These museums became safe places for me to spend time and to learn about art, science, and history.

2. Addressing Citywide Issues

Can you provide examples on how you would integrate the arts, culture, and creative community in solving social problems such as safety in the downtown district?   

I believe people who could be described as irresponsible, or those who would make bad choices are most likely to behave and be respectable in areas where large groups of people congregate. Creating venues for families and responsible people to gather and be engaged with cultural events, food and entertainment will help address public safety and draw disposable income to our Main St.

3. An Arts Destination

While Springfield is growing as a community, the city has yet to fully leverage the strength of our arts, culture, and creative community as a means for branding and attracting residents, employees, and visitors.  How would you utilize our community to make Springfield a place where people want to live, work, play, and visit?

Our plan must be multi-facetted. We need to continue to address public safety and the perception that we are unsafe. We need clean, well lit streets, and a reduction in both commercial and residential taxes. Our schools must improve and we must find a way to create more collaborations with our local schools of higher education. The delivery of city services must be improved and our leaders must be more responsive to the concerns of citizens. Finally, I would suggest we reclaim our pride, re-brand our message, and refocus our energies on promoting our positives.

4. Your Priorities

When elected, what actions will you take to provide support and resources to the creative community?

I will continue to support the work and funding of the Community Preservation Committee. I intend to maintain my seat on the Springfield Preservation Trust, Springfield Armory Alliance, and my involvement as president of Keep Springfield Beautiful. As an elected official, it is my duty to be a steward of the taxpayer's dollars and to be an advocate for all things to benefit the city, including resources for the creative community.

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