Stephan Hay's 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?

I received a BA from Clark University in Theater Arts and a Master of Fine Arts in Directing from Rutgers University.  I believe theatre, movies and literature are venues for all people to explore their viewpoint and emotions regarding people, situations and circumstances.  How one responds and grows from these experiences has a direct impact on how they view and interact with their community.  Being involved in theatre productions has shown me that all projects, great and small, require complete teamwork and cohesive communication between all of the team members.  Everyone has a specific “role to play” to successfully accomplish the goal of producing a fantastic production, and the leader of the team can accomplish nothing without the cast and crew.


Fitchburg’s new Mayor (and former State Representative) has long been an energetic supporter of the arts and culture on the state level, and views the creative economy as vital to his plans for the revitalization of the City of Fitchburg. As State Representative, how will you work to help Mayor DiNatale realize his vision for the City?

As a State Representative I will partner with Mayor DiNatale to secure funding and support for arts and culture in Fitchburg and our region.  I agree with the Mayor’s view that the creative economy is vital to the revitalization of Fitchburg, specifically the downtown area.  Arts and culture can be the engine that helps to revive our downtown, and as State Representative I would fight for and support the additional funding of the Mass. Cultural Council to ensure that arts and cultural organizations can receive the funding and support needed to accomplish their missions and help the city reach its goals.


As State Representative, 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 North of Main neighborhood and revitalize downtown Fitchburg?

As a City Councilor I helped facilitate the sale of the B.F. Brown school building to NewVue Communities because I believe the establishment of an arts community in our downtown area will be a great use of the building and a huge asset to the city.  I spent a great deal of time talking with and listening to the Fitchburg Art Museum before determining my stance on this project, and when I had determined that this was an incredible opportunity for our community, I advocated for this project to other members of the City Council. By partnering with the Fitchburg Art Museum we will create opportunities for artists to explore and grow their practices which will translate into making Fitchburg a creative destination for audiences that are interested in arts and culture.  As State Representative I will advocate for this project in the State House and with the Baker administration to ensure that we receive the funding required to make this project a reality.


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 environment that supports the creative community and tourism across the Commonwealth, and particularly in North Central Massachusetts?

The legislature needs to understand that by supporting the creative economy and tourism they are aiding cities in two ways.  There is the economic aspect that creates jobs and brings money to the region.  At the same time they are helping to create a community of people that work to better their city or town and become actively involved in many areas that help improve the quality of life for residents.  Artists and creative members of the community view civic engagement as a vital aspect of community development and they continue to look for new was to develop, grow, and enhance communities through socially responsible thoughts and actions.


Creativity and innovation are vital skills in a student’s education and in workforce development in our 21st century economy. How will you champion arts education? 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? 

It is a shame that when school committees need to cut their budgets the first things to go are art and music.  We need to educate people to value art, music and culture as part of our educational system.  Not only do these areas help students gain an appreciation of art and music that they will value throughout their lives, I believe students acquire skills through these disciplines that help them to be successful in many different occupations because they gain non-traditional problem solving skills and are able to look at situations with varying perspectives.  Not only would I support making arts education a requirement for admission to the state university system, I would support it as a requirement for graduation from all levels within our school system.  Society is consistently catching up to the forward think ideas and concepts that derive from the world of arts and culture and it would be best that our younger generations are exposed to that way of thinking as early as possible.


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