Dylan Korpita Response

Your Personal Connection

We've all had defining moments in our lives. What personal experience with arts, culture, or creativity had an impact on your life and your view of the community?

My personal experience with arts, culture, and creativity would have to be with my writing. I have written quite a lot throughout my life, in different forms. As I began to door-knock in each town for this campaign, I realized that there were stories that needed to be told about each one of these communities. So I created a series, called "First Franklin In Focus", and have now posted 15 of them. I still have 6 more to publish over the next two weeks, and will have done at least one on every one of the 19 towns in the district. I invite you to check them out on my website,dk4ma.com, and if you only have time to read a couple - my favorites are Sunderland and Middlefield. In these summaries I have shared some of each town's history, issues that came up in my conversations, anecdotal highlights from my time door-knocking, and then some concluding thread that ties the narrative together and makes it part of the larger story of the district, and the campaign. 

 Arts and Culture in Your District

Art and culture plays a role in the Commonwealth from Boston and the Gateway Cities and our rural and suburban towns.  Please provide us with a story of the impact a local arts or cultural institution brings to your district.

We are lucky to live in a district that has many outlets and avenues for arts and culture. In just the past year, and just to name a few things - I have been to theater productions such as "You Can't Take It With You" by the Ashfield Community Theater and "The Amish Project" by the theater group at Deerfield Academy. I also attended a number of the wonderful fall festivals: Festival of the Hills in Conway, Middlefield Days, Fall Festival in Huntington, Fall Festival in Ashfield, and PumpkinFest in Turners Falls. I have been to an exhibit of Jo Ann Denehy paintings at The Day Lily in South Deerfield, a reading by David Brule at Boswell's Books in Shelburne, and a Seth Glier performance at the Greenfield Arts Block. We are so lucky to live in an area that nurtures the talent and showcases the creativity of our local artists. We have a robust cultural identity and I completely encourage it. 

Arts Education and Programs for our Youth

Creativity and innovation are vital skills in a student’s education. While many communities have access to quality arts education, many youth are still being left out of the creative community. How will you champion arts education for our youth both in our schools and in our communities? Continue to be an outspoken advocate on the importance of this and to insure funding when possible. How will you balance the importance of arts education with the constant pull to “teach to the test”?  Would you support joining ten other states to make one year of arts education in high school a requirement for admission to the state university system? Do you support adding ‘arts’ into the Commonwealth’s STEM program to transform it to STEAM?

I think the first and best thing we can do to maintain the freedom to teach in areas like the arts is to move away from Common Core. I would be hesitant to mandate arts in high school for entry into state colleges, because our high schools are already struggling with mandates as it is, and I am reticent to mandate things that we can encourage through other means.

Economic Development

Nonprofit art and cultural organizations support more than 45,000 jobs, spend $2.1 billion annually and generate another $2.5 billion of economic activity. How will the legislature foster an ecosystem, which supports the creative community and industry across the Commonwealth?

This is a fairly board question, and I cannot say that I have the information I would like to speak intelligently about how far, or not, state dollars go in the creative community, and what kind of returns those dollars have in economic activity and the like. I would like to see as much of the cultural identity of a given area be focused and funded at the local level, but am open to a longer conversation as to what the state has been doing to help, and can do going forward. This could be a good topic for our follow-up meeting. 

Addressing the Commonwealth’s Socioeconomic Issues

Massachusetts faces many economic and social issues, among them workforce development, public safety, and health care. Can you provide examples on how you would utilize the arts, cultural, and creative community to address the Commonwealth’s social and economic challenges?

I think the limiting factors on socioeconomic issues such as health care, public safety and workforce development lie more within the purview of more traditional policy initiatives. I am open to your input as to how the creative community could be of help, but  think what needs to be addressed is the status-quo, top-down, one-party system that leads to administrative bloat and governmental waste. Our health care system is a perfect example, where we managed to go from being a leader in the nation in health care, to spending ONE BILLION DOLLARS and ending up with a worse system than we started. I must say, our elected officials were pretty darn creative themselves to be able to screw things up that badly. And that is not a healthcare problem… its a governance problem. I guess perhaps the best way the creative community could be of service to governance problems is to find and encourage other creative individuals to run for public office, as I think we need a much broader range of personalities and approaches if we truly want to represent the entire spectrum of citizens in this state, and solve the problems we are faced with. 

The Commonwealth’s Support and Role in the Creative Community

  • Last year, Massachusetts invested $12 million in organizational support through the Massachusetts Cultural Council (MCC) for the creative community, ranking it ninth in the country. In 1988, the MCC gave out more than $27 million in grants, more than twice what we do now. At what level would you fund the MCC?  

Absent any other information on what specific functions the MCC performs, and what its needs are for the coming year, I would support funding at the same level - as it ranked 9th in the country last year, meaning we are towards the front of the curve in this kind of funding. I could give a more substantive answer with more information.

  • For the past two years, Governor Patrick allocated $15 million in matching grants through the Massachusetts Cultural Facilities Fund to support the maintenance, repair, and rebuilding of the Commonwealth’s cultural facilities. At what level do you suggest the Commonwealth fund this program?

Even more so than the previous, I would need to have more information as to what this money goes toward, and what the projected need is going forward. My first question back to you would probably be to assume we fund both the MCC and the grants the same, $12mm and $15mm, respectively. Now lets say we came up with an extra million dollars - which program would you give it to, and why? Or reverse it and instead say that we had to cut one million from one of the budgets… which one would you cut, and why? 

  • Would you develop or dedicate a revenue stream to provide a sustainable and stable funding stream for the arts, cultural, and creative community?

I would not dedicate a revenue stream. While the arts are important to me, I do not think they are above other parts of our daily life which are subject to budgetary cuts during hard times, and I think the job of the legislature each year should be to not only try to set a responsible overall budget, but also make the difficult decisions of prioritizing the demands upon it by the various needs of the people. 



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