Dylan Hayre 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?

 I have been blessed to have taken some form of arts classes throughout most of my education. These were invaluable opportunities to expand my horizons and facilitate my personal growth. As an Indian-American, the annual Holi festival is a reminder of the role that creativity plays in helping to shape, define, and celebrate a culture. It is one small example of the way in which culture can be cherished and explored in an artistic and special way. Recently, I learned of programs in some prisons in which mural art is being used as a key component of rehabilitation and community involvement. Each of these anecdotes is certainly unique; but, each offers an example of the personal experiences that I have had with arts, culture, and creativity that have come to shape my life and how I view my community.

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.

With a number of studios and artists spanning the Norfolk, Bristol, and Middlesex district, there are numerous examples of artists offering free classes as after-school programs. Some artists contribute their art, often student-made, to local festivals and use the proceeds to fund workshops and programs. Also, I’ve seen some beautiful examples of how artwork is used to promote other aspects of a community. For example, I visited a small exhibition in Attleboro that featured a number of home-made displays, each advertising a service or event within the city. The involvement of local artists in the greater economic development of the region was one important example of how we can, and should collaborate with the creative forces within a community as a way to strengthen our community.

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 have said from day one of my campaign that we need to diversify the tools we use to measure and assess our students’ success. One reason to do that is to allow a greater inclusion of arts and arts-based programs into our curriculum, without having to become overly concerned with a perceived inability to measure how well our students are doing in the classroom. We need to move away from the “teach to the test” mentality, and incorporate arts into our focus so that we are consistently building strong STEAM programs across the state. We must make arts education readily accessible. Also, we must either move away from our incessant focus on tests; or, work to ensure that arts education does not pose a substantial burden on whatever time students must dedicate to preparing for tests that can single-handedly determine their future. If we can accomplish these goals, then, yes – I do think it’s appropriate to consider adding a “one year of arts education” requirement to admission policies.

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?

 Creative and progressive use of tax incentives, access to capital grants, and loan-forgiveness programs tailored toward careers in the arts are all possible key steps in ensuring that the legislature fosters an economic system that spurs the Commonwealth’s creative industries.

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? 

The power of the arts community should be utilized to spur a conversation around healthcare reform, and to highlight workforce development programs by helping to inform the public about these elements of our community. Also, arts are a key component of beautifying, connecting, and empowering neighborhoods; and each of these is crucial in promoting general public welfare and safety. Incentives for communities to institute after-school arts programs, grants to artists who design advertising and promotional materials, and training in arts-related careers are all ideas that we can discuss right now that could begin to make an impact immediately.

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? 

I would aim to fund the MCC as much as possible given the fiscal realities of our budget, with a goal of funding the MCC at, at least, the 1988 level of $27m.

• 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?

The Commonwealth should continue to fund this program at the current levels, as a minimum, and should be looking to double this commitment in the next ten years.

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

Yes, because the creative community is an essential peace of a safe, smart, and healthy Commonwealth.

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