Konstantina B. Lukes' Response to the Arts & Culture Questionnaire

Arts instruction increases achievement across all disciplines and develops the whole child. What will you do as a school committee member to champion arts education for our youth both in our schools and communities? How will you balance the importance of arts education with the constant pull to teach to the test? The start of a mayor’s tenure often sets the tone of city council priorities. When elected, what actions will you take in your first 100 days to provide support and resources for the creative community?

Because of state mandates regarding curriculum, along with limited financial resources, I would pursue a strategy of collaboration and cross-school partnerships similar to the Boston Compact model involving private, public, charter and parochial schools with a goal, along with other goals, finding space for art training, exhibits, work space, etc., which would include student participation. Additional efforts within my first 100 days would be to lead by example. During my past tenure as mayor, local artists’ works of art were displayed in the mayor’s office, many on a rotating basis, with opening receptions featuring the artist. We should list all our public art in the city website, including historical structures, statutes, markers and monuments, street and park concerts/musical events, theater in the parks, festivals, poetry slams etc.

Also, during my service, damaged works found in City Hall building were restored with private funds, along with a duplicate copy of the city council podium, which was rescued from an auction, restored and relocated in the Lincoln Levi Room.

Art has many forms, not just physical objects, but poetry, street theater, festivals, concerts in the part, technology and digital driven displays. Art forms are rooted in imagination beyond definition. The concepts involve community engagement, civic activism and social ideas. It should pursue creativity, and therefore should not be narrowly defined.

There are two ways of inspiring art in the community. One, through the public sector, and the other through the private sector. Public buildings are public art. We have future opportunities with the construction of new schools to be creative and in private construction with a Percent for Art requirement, which has been implemented in many other cities and which I support. Monuments also should be considered public art. The real question is what happens when public art becomes controversial.

I consider shelter a priority and there support the lowest residential tax rate, which will maintain affordable housing in the city.

I have attended various public art related activities in the past year. Formerly I have attended art classes at the Worcester Art Museum and the Russian Icon Museum in Clinton.


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