MASSCreative to Highlight Arts and Culture During Mayoral and City Council Elections


Over the next four months, MASSCreative will partner with local arts leaders and cultural institutions groups to run Create the Vote campaigns during their cities and town’s mayoral elections. The campaigns will highlight the important role that arts and culture play in making art accessible to local residents; building community; and strengthening local economies.

In November, more than 40 cities across the Commonwealth will hold Mayoral and City Council elections.  City-based non-partisan Create the Vote campaigns will meet with candidates and encourage them to develop dynamic cultural policies. Local cultural institutions will reach out to their networks to educate voters on the candidate’s positions and urge their networks to think about arts and culture in the voting booth. 

“As we face the prospect of losing all federal funding for the arts and state arts funding is stagnant, we must focus more intently on growing local investment in our arts organizations,” said Matt Wilson, executive director of MASSCreative. “The role that arts and culture plays in our local economies, in student education, and in strengthening our communities will be a critical part of the political debate in municipal elections. We look forward to hearing from the candidates on their vision for the role that arts and culture can play in their communities.”

Create the Vote was a significant presence during 2016 legislative races on the Cape and Islands and in the Berkshires, and in 2015 mayoral campaigns in Fitchburg, Gloucester, Medford, New Bedford, and Worcester. During the 2014 gubernatorial race, Create the Vote hosted six candidates at the first-ever Gubernatorial Forum on Arts, Culture, and Creativity; met with candidates; and publicized the answers to candidates’ Create the Vote questionnaires. In the 2013 Boston mayoral race, Create the Vote succeeded in securing a pledge from candidate Marty Walsh to create a cabinet level position for the arts, a promise he fulfilled after his election with the hiring of Julie Burros as Chief of Arts and Culture.

A recent analysis by the National League of Cities (NLC), shows that mayors across the country view arts and culture as an important economic driver that is worthy of investment. NLC’s 2017 State of the Cities report analyzes and catalogues the top issues articulated by U.S. mayors in their annual State of the City speeches. Predictably, economic development topped the list of the mayors’ priorities. Breaking down that issue, NLC noted that arts and culture was one of the top five economic subsets—along with job creation, business attraction, downtown development and employment—that mayors identified as important or of interest in the growth of their cities.

Follow the campaign on Twitter with the hashtag #CreateTheVote. You can also “like” us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter and Instagram at @MASSCreative, and visit

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