Create the Vote campaigns in 40 municipal elections raising awareness of arts and creative expression to cities and towns

BOSTON, September 20, 2017—MASSCreative announced today that nearly 40 municipalities are taking part in Create the Vote initiatives this fall. Organized by MASSCreative, a statewide arts advocacy group, in partnership with local arts groups and cultural councils, Create the Vote campaigns raise awareness of the ways that arts and creative expression improve schools, strengthen local business districts, and build vibrant neighborhoods in which people want to live, work, and play.

During the Create the Vote campaign, MASSCreative and local cultural councils will share with voters the answers candidates give to a questionnaire about the arts. In some districts, they will also meet with candidates for municipal office and host debates.

“Creative expression builds powerful connections among communities of people and strengthens educational offerings and local economies,” said Matt Wilson, executive director of MASSCreative. “Local initiatives, such as library reading programs, outdoor concerts, public mural projects, and cultural districts that encourage residents and visitors alike to patronize local businesses are among the most powerful examples. These programs and activities are successful and their impact scales dramatically when they enjoy the support of municipal leaders. That’s why it’s so important to talk about these issues with candidates.”

A recent analysis by the National League of Cities (NLC), shows that mayors across the country view arts and culture as an important economic driver that is worthy of investment. NLC’s 2017 State of the Cities report analyzes and catalogues the top issues articulated by U.S. mayors in their annual State of the City speeches. Predictably, economic development topped the list of the mayors’ priorities. Breaking down that issue, NLC noted that arts and culture was one of the top five economic subsets—along with job creation, business attraction, downtown development and employment—that mayors identified as important or of interest in the growth of their cities.

Arts and cultural organizations and local cultural councils have sent questionnaires to candidates for mayor and city council in Boston and Lynn; questionnaires have been sent to city council candidates in Cambridge, Springfield, and Barnstable; and questionnaires have been sent to candidates for state senate in the special election to be held in the Bristol Norfolk district.

Completed questionnaires are available online at

The Create the Vote Cambridge coalition will hold a debate on the arts on October 12 at Central Square Theater.

The Newton Cultural Alliance will hold a debate on the arts on October 17 at the Boston Ballet School in Newton between mayoral candidates Scott F. Lennon and Ruthanne Schwartz Fuller, who have also filled out an arts questionnaire.

Other participating cities and towns will likely include Agawam, Amesbury, Attleboro, Beverly, Brockton, Chicopee, Easthampton, Everett, Fall River, Framingham, Franklin, Gardner, Gloucester, Haverhill, Holyoke, Lawrence, Leominster, Lowell, Marlborough, Medford, Methuen, New Bedford, Newburyport, Northampton, Peabody, Salem, Taunton, , Westfield, West Springfield, Woburn, and Worcester.

Create the Vote was a significant presence during 2016 legislative races on the Cape and Islands and in the Berkshires, and in 2015 mayoral campaigns in Fitchburg, Gloucester, Medford, New Bedford, and Worcester. During the 2014 gubernatorial race, Create the Vote hosted six candidates at the first-ever Gubernatorial Forum on Arts, Culture, and Creativity; met with candidates; and publicized the answers to candidates’ Create the Vote questionnaires. In the 2013 Boston mayoral race, Create the Vote succeeded in securing a pledge from candidate Marty Walsh to create a cabinet level position for the arts, a promise he fulfilled after his election with the hiring of Julie Burros as Chief of Arts and Culture.

Follow the campaign on the MASSCreative Website Twitter with the hashtag #CreateTheVote. You can also “like” us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter @MASSCreative, and visit


Founded in 2012, MASSCreative works to build a more vibrant, healthy, and equitable Massachusetts. MASSCreative works with artists, leaders, supporters, and partners of the arts, cultural, and creative community to advocate for the resources and support necessary for the sector to thrive. Nearly 400 arts and cultural organizations and working artists from across the Commonwealth are members of MASSCreative. 

Do you like this post?

Community Impact

The Drama Studio is one of a handful of youth theatres in the United States that offers quality, range, and depth in its acting training programs. For Springfield-area youth, the Studio's conservatory program offers an unusual opportunity for training that prepares its graduates (all of whom are college bound) to...