Lindsay Sabadosa's Response to the Create the Vote 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?

The arts— specifically music— has played a huge role in my life, and I believe it’s affected me for the better. I grew up in a musical household. My mother graduated from conservatory, and I’ve played piano and violin from a young age. My daughter has played the violin since she was four, and she too grew up watching her family engage in the arts. I am a contributor to the Northampton Community Music Center and the Springfield Youth Orchestra, and I have invited local musicians to play at my events. We chose to live in Northampton in part because of its vibrant art scene. We are also lucky to have the newly-opened Northampton Center for the Arts, which provides affordable space for artists. I recently met with the Center’s new director to discuss ways in which the new space can stimulate economic development in the area because I believe when a community supports the arts, growth follows.


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?

One of my top priorities is fighting for Medicare for All to ensure everyone has access to quality, affordable healthcare, including artists who go without healthcare to pursue a career in the arts. I also firmly support building an east-west rail between Springfield and Boston and expanding the North South rail lines to create a Hartford-Springfield-Boston corridor. This line will allow people to live, work, and study in various parts of the state, preventing "brain drain" and promoting economic development in our area. Finally, I believe that we must revamp the education funding formula so school districts are funded fairly and equitably, not simply according to the wealth of their residents, which would open up access to arts funding in underfunded areas. I firmly believe the creative community has a large role to play in raising awareness of the disparities in our district and state by creating accessible, socially conscious public art.


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?

The creative community is already doing an excellent job bringing people together for public events, hosting workshops, and engaging young people. I encourage the artists of our state to continue in this endeavor.


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?

My plan to revamp education funding, changing, in particular, the Charter Funding Formula, so that our public schools are not starved of funds, would ensure that the arts are properly funded in our schools. Our schools should be innovative centers. We know from research that a strong art and music program fosters creativity and leads to better learning. I would like to see the city continue to offer art, music, and theater classes through the recreation department, teaming up with local artists to do so.


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 would fight to increase funding in the MCC.


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?

History is important in MA, and is a huge draw for the state. I agree with the increase in funding. I do not believe we fund or support the arts in a sufficient manner in the United States, and because of that we see art often viewed as inaccessible rather than a part of our daily lives.


5. Space for artists and arts organizations

Active arts organizations and artists make neighborhoods safer, more welcoming, and improve overall quality of life. Yet, as Greater Boston’s development boom continues, the creative community is consistently being priced out of space to live, create, and present art.

From the eviction of artists at the Piano Factory in Boston’s South End and the EMF building in Cambridge, to the possibility of the Huntington Theatre losing its mainstage home on Huntington Avenue, Boston is in danger of losing the vibrancy and cultural diversity which make the area a desirable place for businesses to move and people to live.

How will you work to ensure artist live work spaces are included in development plans?

1st Hampshire struggles with adequate affordable housing. The State’s Smart Growth Zoning and Housing Production law provides incentives for municipalities to make creative use of existing building stock for the purpose of increasing the availability of low and moderately priced housing. I will work with a range of stakeholders to ensure that we are creating new opportunities for housing in smart, efficient ways, including live-work space.


How will you encourage the development of affordable rehearsal, exhibition, and performance space for artists and cultural organizations?

Luckily, Northampton has just reopened its Center for the Arts through grants and generous donors, a multi-use, affordable space for all types of artists. We need to create more of these multi-use venues to attract artists to the area.


6. 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?

I would be sure to co sponsor and champion this legislation.


7. 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?

Art therapy is extremely important. It needs to be public, accessible, and affordable - either through grants or other public funding. This is an investment that we need to make.

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