Stephen DiNatale response to Arts, Culture & Creative Economy Questionnaire

What personal experience with arts, culture, or creativity has had an impact on your life and your view of our community?

  • My Italian American heritage was and is a vivid example of the importance of cultural creativity and community involvement. The Saint Rocco Feast as well as the Feast of the Madonna Della Cava were and are celebrations filled with ethnic food, dance and fellowship. These cultural events were held on my street, at Saladini Hall and they created a lasting memory of belonging and well-being in my neighborhood.

  • As mayor I will strive to bring exposure and pride to all ethnic, cultural groups in the city and work toward having events that will draw people to downtown.

Fitchburg is fortunate to have maintained arts instruction and programs in the public schools. As mayor, how will you help support and expand the arts in our schools, to keep S.T.E.A.M. in S.T.E.M (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics)?

  • As the chair of the School Committee I will continue to support and, if necessary, spearhead a continued emphasis on maintaining a robust arts component in our school curriculum. I want us to create a curriculum for academic enrichment that includes special projects and travel study. I will help to foster projects that include education, city, business and our arts community.

As mayor, how would you address the city's permitting process to help enable a viable downtown cultural district, alive with galleries, cafes, restaurants, and retail?

  • I will promote and encourage a message that the city of Fitchburg is "Open for Business."

  • My goal is to make City Hall user-friendly, and I will expect our departments to make every effort to satisfy the needs of prospective business customers. We have the need for a collaboration of departments with regard to our permitting process. A graduated permitting and triage approach that will facilitate closure to the satisfaction of the customer. With assistance from the North of Main Initiative the city is creating a downtown commercial property inventory. This will provide us with a better understanding of what needs affect a given property. I believe this will be of great assistance with promoting business growth and our creative economy downtown.

As mayor, how will you support the transformation of the B.F. Brown Building and adjacent properties into a campus of apartments and workspaces for creative professionals and entrepreneurs, to help stabilize the Elm Street neighborhood and revitalize the downtown?

  • There is no question that the importance of this transformative development project will have far-reaching consequences. It will not only repurpose a vacant city building but will reclaim a neighborhood that will be linked to a vibrant and vital arts anchor -- the Fitchburg Art Museum. Coupled with a concerted effort to bring commercial and retail to Main Street, the resulting foot traffic will spur development even further.

Many cities in Massachusetts benefit from direct cultural leadership in municipal government. In your new administration, will you commit to establishing a position to coordinate and promote the arts, culture, creative economy initiatives, and signature city festivals (Civic Days, Blacksmith Arts and Music Festival, The Longsjo Classic)?

  • I will serve as the functional leader for the creative economy. I would like to establish a core group of volunteers along with members of the Art Museum, Fitchburg Cultural Council and have the city Economic Development Director responsible for coordination of our collective goals.

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