Adam Hinds' Response to the Create the Vote Candidate Questionnaire

1. The Role of Arts, Culture, and Creativity

What role do arts, culture, and creativity play in your life, your family, your community? What impact does it have?

Quite simply, arts have defined our region and given us the basis for revitalization in a post-industrial era. As a result, the arts have become central to my work, my leisure, and personal enjoyment. That’s why I ASKED to Chair the Committee on Tourism, Arts, and Cultural Development in MA Senate.

2. Addressing District-wide Issues

Just as any other part of the state, we face many economic and social issues here in the district.

What are your priority issues? What role can the creative community play in addressing these challenges?

Arts are central to most issues in the district. We have an economy that requires we support our arts institutions, utilize it to bolster the tourism economy. A vibrant arts scene in northern Berkshire county has led to serious economic investment by outside investors. We have income levels that create pockets of at risk youth and arts have proven critical for accessing those youth.

There is a growing body of data and science that’s telling us that loneliness is more prevalent than we thought. Former U.S. surgeon general Vivek Murthy even compared the mortality effect associated with loneliness to smoking 15 cigarettes a day.

What do you think the creative community can do to address social isolation?

There is no question that being a part of community makes us happier and healthier. And there is no question that our music venues, festivals and beyond create the opportunity to engage and build the types of communities more people want to live in.

3. Arts Education and Programs for our Youth

Research has shown that arts education increases achievement across all academic disciplines, enhances student engagement, and fosters development of critical thinking and learning skills. 

The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) is currently redesigning school and district report cards to include measures for arts education participation. In addition, DESE is updating arts curriculum frameworks for the first time since 1999. 

What will you do to increase access and participation in arts education for youth both in school and out of schools?

It is unconscionable that arts are often the first programs cut when a school experiences budget challenges. We know students often come to school FOR those programs, it helps access more of their brains and attention, and increasingly I am talking about it as a workforce development investment. In a district like mine where Tourism, Arts and Culture is the 3rd largest industry we find that students with arts programs are more likely to pursue arts management careers.

4. The Commonwealth’s Support and Role in the Creative Community

Public investment in the arts strengthens local economies, attracts additional investment, and ensures resources serve the public interest. For the past three years, the Legislature has level funded the Mass Cultural Council, investing $14 million in organizational support for the creative community. In 1988, the Mass Cultural Council gave out more than $27 million in grants, nearly twice what we do now. 

At what level would you fund the Mass Cultural Council?

I was proud to file an amendment to raise MCC budget line to $16 million and we were successful, we clearly need to do better and get back to where we were in 1988 as a starting point. But we should be serious about moving beyond that as well.

Created by the Massachusetts Legislature in 2007, the Massachusetts Cultural Facilities Fund has granted $110 million in matching grants to help restore the Commonwealth’s most treasured historical and cultural landmarks, and fund visionary capital projects that revitalize our communities. As the Cultural Facilities Fund comes up for reauthorization in 2019, there’s interest to increase the Fund to $75 million for five years, allowing the yearly allocations to increase from $10 million to $15 million and meet the increasing demands of projects.

At what level do you suggest the Commonwealth fund this program?

I was also proud to file an amendment to raise the capitalization of CFF to $75 million, unfortunately that is not where it landed in the Economic Development bond bill. I would like to continue a conversation around a more expansive CFF that can even contribute to the endowments of institutions so they can benefit annually from such contributions.

5. Public Art

Public art helps build vibrant and connected neighborhoods and the arts community plays a vital role in the development of cities and towns. The rest of New England and 22 other states have a Public Art Program, which establishes that public art will be an integral piece of all new state construction. The Legislature is considering The Massachusetts Public Art Program, legislation that would invest approximately $2 million a year in the creation and preservation of public art on Commonwealth-owned properties.

What will you do next session to help get the Massachusetts Public Art Program to the finish line?

Public art is critical for creating the environment where people want to live and feel more at home. I would love to create a range of awareness events around the state that highlight its importance, and point to successes.

6. Art and Public Health

Expressive art therapy is a proven and effective treatment to improve cognitive and sensory-motor functions, help cope with traumatic experiences, decrease depression and anxiety, and aid addiction recovery.

How would you ensure veterans, young people in the juvenile justice system, the elderly, and those suffering from addiction are able to access art and creative therapies?

We just passed criminal justice reform legislation as well as a Veterans omnibus bill. I would love to include these elements as we tweak those provisions. I also think further investments in diversion programs will be critical now that judges will have the ability to be more active in creating diversion programs.

Members of MASSCreative's Leadership Council met with Adam Hinds in August to share their perspectives on the creative sector. Read about the meeting here.

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