Ellen Story 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?

Growing up listening to classical music.

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.

I am a big supporter of the Mass Cultural Council and the MCC has funded a number of projects in my district.  My district is filled with artists of every kind.  A few years ago I participated in an exhibit to light up an old tobacco barn at dusk.  It was lovely, community building and calming. 

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? 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 am a lifelong supporter of arts in schools.  I recently attended a presentation about the program “El Sistema” in Pittsfield run by the Berkshire Center for Children and Families sponsored by the MCC.  I was so impressed that I think we should work toward offering this program at every school in the Commonwealth. 
I will balance the importance of arts education with the pull to “teach to the test” by advocating vigorously for it.
Yes, I would support a one-year arts education requirement.
Yes, I would support adding “arts” into the Commonwealth’s STEM program.

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?

 By having a fair taxation system – by raising taxes and adopting a graduated income tax. 

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?

Theater can be a powerful educational tool.  Skits for high school students and college students dramatizing some of these issues can be very effective.

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?

At least $27 million

  • 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?

At least $15 million

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

Yes, if you don’t have that it’s always the first thing to be cut.

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