Marc Pacheco 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 personally experienced the arts as a musician, trained in playing the saxophone and clarinet, who first joined the Taunton Police Band and then a high school band. As a post-graduate, I joined a cover band and through the band and other work, was able to save enough money to put a down payment on my first home. My musical training exposed me to the experiences of artists and performing artists, and to their ability to establish connections between people and to bring a community together through creative expression.  

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. 

My district office shares space with the Trescott Street Gallery building in Taunton, which brings the community together through art shows, music lessons, dance lessons, creative expression and through many other outlets. I have witnessed firsthand the way this busy community venue at the heart of the city attracts people from all walks of life and of all tastes in art and music to celebrate culture and creativity. The gallery allows Taunton to leverage community investment and to underwrite our greater arts community, which in turn spurs excitement and support for many of our other creative projects in the Greater Taunton area. 

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 experienced the necessity of a strong arts education as a student who was not overwhelmingly dedicated to academics until my college years. From kindergarten to high school, I was only able to stay focused on school through my participation in a high school band; music kept me connected to the school system and to my community. I think it is important to emphasize both arts education and standardized learning in classrooms, though I do not believe one test is necessarily the best indicator of a student’s academic ability. We must ensure that the resources are available in our schools so that students will benefit from both types of learning as I strongly believe arts education leads to success in other areas of a student’s education. While I am inclined to be supportive of the requirement of arts education for state university system admissions, I also do not know whether a strong math or physics students should be barred from admission if he or she did not have the opportunity to study the arts. Nevertheless, I think adding the arts to create a “STEAM” curriculum in Massachusetts would greatly benefit students across the Commonwealth, who would not only gain useful skills through creative art, music or the performing arts training, but who also could leverage their success in those required programs to excel in other academic areas as well.

 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?  

My legislative record shows I have been an advocate for the arts since my career began more than 30 years ago as a member of the Taunton School Committee who fought for music programs in schools. In the legislature I have defended numerous arts and cultural programs such as the funding for Massachusetts Cultural Council grants and will continue to do so in the future, having seen concrete examples, from the Berkshires to Cape Cod—and right at home in the First Plymouth and Bristol District—, of the positive impact the arts can have on a community’s quality of life and on small business ventures. Art and culture have an influence on a cross-section of sectors and industries in Massachusetts, including the music therapy practices in our public health sector, and our hospitality and tourism industry. By supporting those sectors, in turn, our arts and culture sector gains more support. What’s more, I truly believe the progress we make to bring South Coast Rail to Southeastern Massachusetts will have a profound and positive impact on our region’s arts and cultural sector, and it demands our continued advocacy to spur positive growth for our economy as a whole. 

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?  

Quality of life is a crucial component to any thriving downtown, and when people examine a community in which to live, they consider the opportunities to dine, to see a play, to hear live music or to express themselves and to engage with others through the arts. That is why I have long-advocated for strong arts and cultural opportunities to strengthen cities and towns in the First Plymouth and Bristol District. Understanding that the arts supports student achievement, jobs and economic development (and vice versa) I will continue to advocate for the arts, cultural and creative sector and for other cross-sections of society that help the sector succeed, such as transportation and tourism. Public-private partnerships and the expansion of projects such as Myles Standish Industrial Park, within which a cultural center is housed, remain important priorities of mine to create jobs and to grow our regional economy.

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?

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?

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

I will continue to support the revenue streams we have established for the arts, cultural and creative sector through initiatives such as the Massachusetts Cultural Council and other programs that promote arts in public life. For example, like many of my colleagues at the State House, I am proud to hang local artwork created by a friend and neighbor of mine in my district office. I also am supportive of art-in-public-places initiatives that require one percent of the capital costs of construction for state facilities to be used towards the maintenance or creation of art in a public space. The state budget, in and of itself, is the best guaranteed revenue stream to support our arts, cultural and creative sector, which must compete with every other aspect of the operations of government and public life that demand funding. I strongly believe our creative economy is a crucial aspect of the Commonwealth’s fiscal health, and I will continue to fight to support it and to support the many areas it impacts, such as arts education, music therapy, historical societies and reenactments, and hospitality and tourism, to name a few. 


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