George Russell's Response to the Arts & Culture Questionnaire

  1. How would you engage the creative community to drive economic development and build social capital in our neighborhoods and throughout the city?

    I think the city administration is already doing a good job encouraging art. If you look at everything from POW! WOW! to the new Blackstone River Park with Public Art in our own District 3, the Manager is doing what needs to be done.
  2. What revenue sources will you create or use to increase the city’s investment in the creative community?

    I would try to include the creative community in currently-funded projects. For example, a park could have just been a park at the Blackstone but instead it is incorporating public art.
  3. What will you do to support arts education in the city’s schools and in our community?

    There, we try to assist schools in getting alternate funding from community or business groups to help. I have supported the increase in Worcester schools funding in the past three budgets. The School Committee under our form of government is the authority on all school programs. City councilors are prohibited from telling the school committee what to do with programs.
  4. Worcester is fortunate to have leadership in its administration that supports public art throughout the city. Would you support a Percent for Art program for state and local development projects?

    I support the manager’s agenda on public art and will most likely seek his direction on this.
  5. How would you use the arts and culture community to build connections that maintain and support the ethnic and socioeconomic diversity that makes Worcester a truly creative city for all?

    Efforts should be made to spread all programs, including arts-based, all over the city. No area should have programs that are exclusive to that side of town.
  6. What will you do to provide more affordable housing and work spaces for artists?

    Housing costs are an issue for all residents of the city. The city’s economic development team should be engaged in providing resources for artists. This effort could also be helpful to residential property owners looking to change their target tenant base.
  7. The Worcester Cultural Coalition Needs Assessment demonstrates the current supply of space does not meet the demand of the arts community. What steps will you take to address this problem?

    Again, the city’s economic development team needs to be engaged, just like they would be if someone was considering opening a factory in Worcester
  8. What personal experience with arts, culture and creativity have your participated in over the last year?

    Attending some of the concerts in Kelley Square and events on the Common Oval have given me new insight to the cultural trends of our City as it evolves.
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