Jay Kaufman 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 grew up surrounded by art and music in my parents’ home and in the museums and concerts that were the norm in my experience growing up.  I remember going backstage after a NY Philharmonic concert and getting autographs from both Van Cliburn and Leonard Bernstein.  I now consider it a special honor to be on the board of the Lexington Symphony and to have hosted art exhibits in my State House office for the past 18 years.  

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.

Lexington is rich with cultural experiences that my family and I enjoy, from galleries to music venues.    We subscribe to the Lexington Symphony and I enjoy having Lexington artists’ work on the 45’ long office wall that serves as my State House are gallery.

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?

Arts education is not an optional complement to math, history, etc.  It is an integral component of education for the “whole” child and for future citizens. 

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?

We need to increase funding for arts organizations, particularly in communities that are economically stressed and deprived.

 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 MCC and Mass Foundation for the Humanities, among others, have done a good job of highlighting how the growing gulf between rich and poor and the disconnect between citizenship education and arts appreciation is costing us dearly in the Commonwealth and nation.  Both of these divisions pose fundamental threats to our society and political system.

 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’d suggest a five-year plan to rebuilt our investment in arts organizations so that, at the end of five years, we’re back at an inflation-adjusted equivalent of the $27 million in 1988.  To do this, we also need to amend the Constitution to allow for a graduated income tax as, without it, we cannot hope to raise the necessary funds without making our already regressive tax system even more regressive.

  • 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?

For starters, adjusting the $15 million for inflation every year will give us a good start on the capital investments we need to make.  Again, this is an unrealistic goal absent the proposed Constitutional amendment.

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

Dedicated revenue streams are not my first choice as it is the Governor’s and legislature’s responsibility to develop and fund a balanced budget.  The lottery does provide some dedicated funding and I’m open to other such ideas, but they are not my first choice.  A robust public debate and adequate revenue stream would be preferable.



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