Marilyn Felix's 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? 

One of the first memories I have of arts and cultural events in Springfield is school field trips to the Quadrangle. Back in the early 80's it was called simply "the Museums". I remember going through all of the museums but my favorite part of the field trips was always the Seymour Planetarium. When they turned off all the lights I used to feel like I was right next to the stars. I thought it was the coolest thing ever!

Another arts and cultural event that impacted my life (and my daughters) was when I started attending open mic nights around 2012 at the Black Pearl in downtown Springfield. Eventually Darryl Moss, mayoral aide, secured a space at 143 Main Street and called it Renaissance Art Space. Every week there were poetry readings, Jazz, R&B and Soul performances among others. Or you can check out an Open Mic Night where local poets, singers, comics and actors went to perform or test their skills. Today Mr. Moss brings these types of cultural events throughout Springfield, including the Indie Soul Festival. Mr. Moss was also instrumental in mentoring my youngest daughter and today she requests that I introduce her as my daughter "the spoken word artist".

In the last few years I have witnessed how Springfield has continued to expand the
various arts and cultural festivals in Downtown Springfield. I envision a Springfield that has a arts and/or cultural festival every weekend during the spring, summer and fall.

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?   

As a city it is our obligation to educate our communities of the many opportunities available. I believe many people aren't aware of the arts and cultural events in Springfield. They will engage with one another and supporting our arts and cultural events, we will have a sense of ownership and civic pride. We should focus on strategies to find ways of engaging our communities including partnering with Sheriffs Department Reentry Programs, Probation Department Community Service Programs and involve the youths for possible internships. People that are personally vested in their communities will feel compelled to continue the process of community renewal.

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?

My vision for the future of downtown Springfield is a pulsating entertainment district with a multitude of arts and cultural options which will attract our residents as well as regional visitors. The good news is we are half way there! The Springfield Central Cultural District (SCCD) has highlighted the various arts and cultural options in Springfield. Some of which are: Springfield Museums, including the Dr. Seuss Museum, Springfield Symphony Orchestra, CityStage, Symphony Hall and VariousArt Galleries such as Studio 9, Artist Square Group Gallery, Pan-African Historical Museum and John Simpson murals.

I believe Springfield should have regionally “Targeted Media Campaigns” highlighting the events such as Cruise Night, White Lion Wednesdays and Thunderbird Thursdays. Once we have our community and regional visitors supporting our arts and cultural events, we will have a sense of ownership and civic pride. People that are personally vested in their communities will feel compelled to continue the process of community renewal.

4. Your Priorities

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

In order for Springfield to continue to provide the arts and cultural events to attract our residents as well as regional visitors and tourists we need to invest resources. As fiscal hawk I will review the budget early in the year to identify resources which can be reallocated to expand funding to the Springfield Central Cultural District.

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