Jay Gonzalez – Candidate for Governor Talks Arts and Creativity

Members of the MASSCreative Leadership Council met with Democratic gubernatorial candidate Jay Gonzalez and his campaign manager on April 19 as part of its Create the Vote 2018 initiative.

Create the Vote 2018 is a nonpartisan campaign to raise awareness of the ways that arts and creative expression improve schools, strengthen local business districts, and build vibrant neighborhoods in which people want to live, work, and play. Members of the campaign are meeting with candidates for governor and other state and local legislative offices to talk about candidates’ views on the arts and cultural community and the role that culture, creativity, and the arts should play in state and local government. Create the Vote met with Democratic gubernatorial candidate Bob Massie January 26.

“As governor, I would want to set an example as to how we can engage the arts community,” Gonzalez said, noting that art played a vital role in his life when he was growing up.

“My father was an immigrant to the US from Spain,” Gonzalez recalled. “He taught himself how to play Spanish guitar and played it often when I was young. Small moments of art experiences made an impact on my life and I’ve seen how they can make an impact on future generations.”


(Members of MASSCreative's Leadership council and Gubernatorial Candidate meet for a Create the Vote 2018 sit down meeting)

MASS Creative Program Advocate Emily Ruddock asked how the creative community could be included in discussion of smart growth policy both for its greater contributions to economic development overall, but also for supporting working artists and the community-based organizations that bring so much vitality to cities and towns around the state.

Gonzalez responded that the arts leaders should play more of a role throughout government, given that creativity and culture is a force multiplier in education, public health and safety, and economic development.

MASSCreative Leadership Council member Craig Coogan, who is the executive director of the Boston Gay Men’s Chorus (BGMC) talked about the need for dedicated revenue sources for the arts. Referring to the BGMC’s budget, he said, “Every year we start at zero, and it is frustrating to have to worry about funding over our art.”

Gonzalez, who managed the state budget as the Secretary of Administration and Finance for former Gov. Deval Patrick, expressed skepticism about dedicated funding. “To be honest … there is no way to have a locked down dedicated funding source.”

Untitled_design_(1).png(From left to right: Matt Wilson, MASSCreative; Corey Depina, Zumix; Aziza Robinson Goodnight, Arts Advocate and Organizer; Jay Gonzalez, Gubernatorial Candidate; Craig Coogan, Boston Gay Men's Chorus; Emily Ruddock, MASSCreative)

During Create the Vote 2017, MASSCreative and arts leaders around the state raised awareness of the arts and creative expression in 118 races, including 13 mayoral and city council elections and three special elections. They helped organized two forums for candidates and voters and published five op-eds in media outlets in Springfield, Cambridge, Fitchburg, Framingham, and Barnstable.

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