George King's Response to the Arts & Culture Questionnaire

Your Personal Connection
We've all had defining moments in our lives. What personal experience with arts, culture, or creativity has had an impact on your life and your view of the community? 

Artistic talent is something that has not come naturally to me, but I think that has enhanced my appreciation of the arts.  Culture is something that I think is critical for a community to have and Framingham is doing a good job in that area.

I think one major impact on me was in 1993 when I was elected Town Clerk. I became the custodian for many of the Town’s historical documents.  One day when orientating myself I found a heap of old books in our vault. Discarded and dusty they were some of the historical registers back to 1700. I was stunned as to how they were stored and kept.  I committed to remedying the situation, and with the help of Town Meeting I was able to do so.  We spend $17,000 to restore our oldest and most delicate records. 

Arts and Culture in the City
Framingham is blessed with a rich mix of arts and cultural organizations. Please describe one or two significant arts and or cultural experiences you have had here recently.  

On Father’s Day this year I went to a great comedy show at Amazing Things. It was a unique show in a great location.

Also this spring I went to the Historical Commissions restoration awards. I went in my role as a trustee of Edgell Grove Cemetery, but it really made me realize the good work so many people do to preserve our historical buildings and artifacts.

Addressing Citywide Issues
Can you provide examples on how you would integrate the arts, culture, and creative community in helping to improve multicultural relations in the city? Given the economic impact of our arts and cultural organizations on the local community, how would you strengthen our creative economy?

As you are well aware there are many historical and cultural institutions occupying town owned buildings. From Amazing Things to The History Center to the Danforth for a few more weeks. I think we have to make it easier for these organizations to exist and thrive in these locations.  We have made progress with the renovations to Village Hall and the transfer of the Danforth to Framingham State.  We need to keep taking these positive steps.

An Arts Destination
While Framingham 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 Framingham a place where people want to live, work, play, and visit?

Again, referring to my last response I think we need to make it easier for these organizations to thrive. Some of our important arts organizations have less than suitable facilities.  The Performing Arts Center lost its home with the closing of the Danforth building. The loss of the artist studios (at least to the public) is a major loss. We need to continue to work hard to bolster these fledgling organizations

I think diversity in organizations is important. Performance venues such as Amazing Things and hands on opportunities like the artist studios are all important.  The library has done a tremendous job of offering diverse holdings.  I am so impressed in their growth and evolution since my years as a trustee in the 80s and 90s.  I know I am personally going to join the History Center after the election as it is something of interest to me, and that is enhanced by the fact I live right down the street from it.

So diversity in offerings is key. Great opportunities for arts and culture are an important block in community building. I hope to have the opportunity to help make that happen.

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