Michael Fenton'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?

I can only pick two?! I would have to say the Springfield Museums and the Mattoon Street Arts Festival. As a child my relatives would take me to see the Science Museum regularly and I was always impressed with the exhibits. As an adult, I return to the museums frequently when family is visiting from out of town or there is a fundrasier which I attend. I never miss the museums gala. It's a great opportunity to help the museums raise money and to see what's new in the Quadrangle. The Mattoon Street Arts Festival is an event that I've attended for the last several years. It's an amazing gathering of Springfield supporters and creative talent. It's one of my favorite events of the year.

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 voted to support the creation of the Cultural District and I will continue to do so through advocacy for support and funding. Bringing the Cultural District into the fold with projects such as the mural program have assisted in beautifying our downtown and made more people feel comfortable when they spend time there. I want to help the Cultural District continue to do good work such as this.


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 communityto make Springfield a place where people want to live, work, play, and visit?

Enlisting the assistance of artists to help with our downtown renaissance is critical. I want to get more artists involved in public art displays and using public and vacant space to display our City's rich cultural history. We have already done quiet a bit of this work with the revival of "The Marketplace." 


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 Cultural District through funding and the sponsorship of the BID. I will patronize the museums and support their programming as I always have. I will fight to utilize city resources, where appropriate, to assist with facilitating the efforts of the creative community. (E.g. assistance with more accessible public parking for the museums, provide opportunities for public art displays, encourage streamlined permitting for arts festivals and cultural events in the downtown.)


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