Rufus Faulk's Response to the Arts & Culture Questionnaire

Your Personal Connection 
We’ve all had defining moments in our lives. What personal connections with the arts and creative expression have had an impact on your life and your view of the community? 

My father, Rufus Faulk is a local artist. I was raised to have a love for the arts, which led to me starting my own designs and clothing brand in high school. I continue to support my father and other local artists at Roxbury Open Studios. I have the privilege to receive guidance from iconic artist Paul Goodnight. The arts will always be near and dear to my heart.

City Investment in the Arts 
Boston Create​s lays out an ambitious program to build a strong arts and creative culture. Financial investments from the city are necessary for the plan to meet its goals. While the Office of Arts and Culture has grown since 2013, Boston invests significantly les​s per capita government support than the other comparable cities, leaving many small to medium sized cultural institutions vulnerable. For example, Boston supports the arts at just over $2/person while Chicago spends $7/person and New York contributes $15. What dedicated funding stream will you establish to provide funds for the priorities outlined in Boston Creates and the sector overall? At what financial level will the city invest in the Boston arts and creative sector? 

I am proud of the advocacy work that I have done with Rep. Chynah Tyler and Outside the Box Agency at the State House in support of increased funding for the Arts. I believe we should at least we should be on par with financial level of Chicago, with increases aligned with the cost of living.

Youth Engagement 
Engaging students with the arts in school and out of school is essential to educating the whole child. While the BPS Arts Expansion Initiative has achieved great success with 94 percent of children from Pre-K up to 8th grade receiving weekly art programs, high school student participation in arts education lags far behind. Boston’s nationally honored Creative Youth Development (youth arts) organizations continue to service thousands of kids, yet struggle to raise the money needed to reach student demand. How would you invest in arts education for students of all ages both inside and outside of school to ensure all youth in Boston have a connection to the arts and tap into their creativity? 

I am proud to have partnered with Arts Emerson’s IDream program, in which we connected local youth with theater programming. Youth arts programming is crucial to the development our of our future. Arts helps our youth express themselves without judgement. I believe the Arts are an excellent way to unify our youth and I will continue to support expansion.

 Creating and Maintaining Vibrant Neighborhoods 
The Boston Creates Plan makes a powerful call for increased accessibility and diversity in the arts. With significant development planned in neighborhoods across the city over the decade, making and keeping vibrant neighborhoods for longstanding residents needs to be a priority. How would you use the arts and culture community to build connections that maintain and support the ethnic and socioeconomic diversity that makes the city thrive? 

I’m a proud Roxbury native and the son of an artist. We have a wealth of talented local artists. I support the creation of more opportunities to showcase local artists, by creating more spaces and through partnerships and providing access to venues that normally seem unattainable.

Supporting Working Artists
In the past year, Boston has provided funding and support for individual artists through a series of new grant programs. Despite this investment, many artists cannot support themselves in Boston due to the high cost of living. What will you do to provide more affordable housing and work spaces for artists? 

I support the creation of housing and work spaces similar to InkBlock. It is important that we are creating housing stock that is affordable for all our residents.

Creating Space to Rehearse, Perform and Operate 
Artists and cultural institutions struggle to find space to rehearse, perform, and run their administrative operations. The Boston Performing Arts Facility Assessment demonstrates that the current supply of space does not meet the demand of the arts community. What steps will you take to address this problem? 

Our city has a wealth of colleges and through partnerships, we can work to create opportunities for the arts community to have a dedicated amount of access per calendar year.

Best Utilizing the Chief of Arts and Culture
In the fall of 2014, Julie Burros became Boston’s first Chief of Arts and Culture in over twenty years, and she presently works within the Mayor's cabinet. How will you work with additional city departments to leverage this cultural cabinet seat to utilize Boston’s arts and cultural sector as an asset to address the various economic and social issues of the city? 

I will use the arts and cultural sector to leverage initiatives in our schools and community centers, similar to the Idream program.

Promoting Arts and Culture in Boston
Boston is known for its educational and medical institutions as well as its championship sports teams. Yet, more than 80 percent of tourist express that their primary reason for visiting the city is to attend arts and cultural events. What will you do to encourage more locals and tourists to see Boston as an international destination for the arts? 

We have to do a better job of showcasing our excellent arts and cultural events. It’s going to take a collaborative effort and I am committed to intentional partnerships with the arts community.

Your “Go To” Places
Boston is blessed with a rich mix of arts and cultural organizations. Please name two places where you have had personally significant connections to the arts and/or cultural experiences.
       
      Paramount Theater, Strand Theater, Paul Goodnight studios and home.

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