Create the Vote 2017


Elections are a time for candidates and voters to discuss the strengths and challenges of our towns and cities. It is also the time where we as a society can openly debate our vision for our communities and think about what is possible.

While arts and culture play a role in our local economies, our educational systems, and in the vibrancy of our neighborhoods and downtowns, candidates often times do not include arts and culture as part of their platform or vision.

Seeing the need to make arts and culture part of the election debate and dialogue, MASSCreative has launched Create the Vote 2017, a nonpartisan public education campaign to raise awareness and support for arts, culture, and creative expression. With active Mayoral and City Council races in more than 40 cities across the Commonwealth, this non-partisan initiative will highlight the role that arts and culture play in educating our students, building vibrant neighborhoods, and strengthening local economies.

Visit the Create the Vote 2017 to see activities in your city.

“Create the Vote 2017 encourages candidates to develop dynamic cultural policies that support the arts and creative expression and integrate these programs into the thinking of city government. We are excited to work with arts leaders to engage candidates and voters in broad-based public education by holding public meetings and publicizing candidates’ answers to a questionnaire about the arts,” said MASSCreative Program Director Tracie Konopinski.

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.

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Reports Show that Arts are Boon to the Massachusetts Economy


In New England, arts and culture create jobs, boost tourism, and generate government revenue. Arts and creativity are such an important part of the regional economy and need to be supported and resourced in the same way as other economic sectors. 

Two new reports - Americans for the Arts (AFTA) Arts & Economic Prosperity 5, and the New England Foundation for the Arts (NEFA) The Jobs in New England's Creative Economy and Why They Matter document the economic impact the creative sector has here in the Commonwealth.

  • More than 71,000 residents are employed by the creative economy in Massachusetts.
  • In the Commonwealth, the nonprofit arts industry generated over $2.2 billion of economic activity in 2015 - $1.3 billion in spending by arts and cultural organizations and an additional $879.5 million in event-related expenditures by their audiences.
  • In 2015, cultural institutions generated more than $159 million in tax revenue in municipalities and the state.

“The data in these reports confirm that arts matter in Massachusetts. The sector employs as many people as the construction industry. It spurs more than $2 billion of economic activity in Massachusetts alone. It is long past the time for our public officials to show the arts and creative sector the same levels of support given to healthcare, technology, and private industry,” said MASSCreative Executive Director Matt Wilson.

Political leaders need to keep the arts sector in the mix when making important policy decisions. The Commonwealth’s economy thrives when creative workers are trained and supported. Its downtowns and neighborhoods are healthier and more vibrant when public art and design are integrated into development and cultural institutions are well-resourced. And Massachusetts students do better across all academic disciplines when schools offer sequential arts education from K-12.

Through its non-partisan Create the Vote campaigns in 20 cities across the state, MASSCreative is partnering with local arts leaders to encourage candidates for mayor and city council to speak out about the importance of the arts and creative expression. The Commonwealth needs champions of the arts on city councils and mayor’s offices, as communities with vibrant arts scenes are places in which people want to live, work, and play.

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Celebrate #ArtsMatterDay: Oct 27


Friday, October 27 is the 4th Annual #ArtsMatterDay and we’re excited for you to join this online celebration of arts, culture, and creative expression.

Last year, the creative community took social media by storm to celebrate #ArtsMatterDay, with more than 600 participating groups and individuals sharing 4,000 social media messages. By sharing hundreds of pictures and videos – and of course, art – we showed why arts matter to us.

With active Mayoral and City Council races in more than 40 cities across the Commonwealth, this year’s #ArtsMatterDay gives us a unique opportunity to invite arts supporters, voters, and candidates to share why arts matter to them. With Election Day coming up on November 7, #ArtsMatterDay falls in the final stretch of ‘Get out the Vote’ efforts for candidates. Let’s show them that #ArtsMatter to us and that we vote!

Join us in celebrating #ArtsMatterDay on October 27!

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We’re hiring! Please help us by spreading the word to your networks!


MASSCreative is looking to fill two exciting jobs to help us build the staffing capacity we need to advocate for a healthy, vibrant, and equitable Massachusetts animated by arts, culture, and creative expression.

MASSCreative's Program Advocate will work with the Program Director to develop and implement public education and advocacy campaigns to bring more resources and support for the arts, cultural, and creative communities. The Program Advocate will build coalitions, engage the field through social media, develop relationships with and lobby government leaders in City Halls and the State House, and help develop policy initiatives for the sector. Candidates for this position should have at least a few years of experience as an advocate, but candidates with more experience as a political campaigner or lobbyist are also encouraged to apply.

MASSCreative's Administrative Assistant will coordinate the organization's administrative systems and manage office operations. This is a great entry-level job, or a job for someone in their first few years out of school. With the staff out organizing, advocating, and fundraising, we are looking for a candidate with a passion for administration who can help keep MASSCreative's financial, administrative, online, and legal house in order.

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You can make a difference! 


We know you believe that arts, culture, and creative expression are essential ingredients of a healthy and vibrant society.

That’s why we’re talking with leaders of the arts, cultural, and creative community in 20 cities about their upcoming mayoral and city council races. In the next month, through Create the Vote 2017, our unique nonpartisan public education initiative, we’re engaging the candidates and tens of thousands of voters like you in an exciting dialogue about the vital importance of creative expression in our communities. But we need your help.

Your gift of $50 will make all the difference. It will enable us to travel across the Commonwealth and make arts, culture, and creative expression a prominent issue in elections this fall.


With your help, we can show that arts really matter. Thank you!

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New Era Coming for Arts Education in the Commonwealth


Backpacks, sneakers, and haircuts aren't the only new things you'll find in school this year. The 2017-18 school year also marks the first-time districts across the state will be operating under new state education guidelines written in response to Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), a bipartisan federal education law passed in 2015. 

Last year, a coalition of arts education advocates, including MASSCreative, successfully pushed proposals that broaden student access to "a well-rounded education." Its passage marks a much-welcomed embrace of the idea that the "whole child" should be educated after 20 years of an ever-narrowing curriculum.

The ESSA guidelines adopted by the state Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) prioritize arts education for students across the Commonwealth. Under the new DESE plan, every school district will soon include data on access to arts education on their school and district "report cards." This will make it easier for parents, students, and other members of the community to see what their schools are doing, and compare them with other districts.

In the 2015-16 school year, less than half of high school students in Massachusetts took an arts class. This is discouraging given that an ever-growing body of research shows that arts education contributes to lower dropout rates, improved academic performance-including in math and reading-and higher SAT scores. And 2011's Reinvesting in Arts Education report of the President's Committee on the Arts and Humanities noted that arts engagement fosters better habits of mind such as problem-solving, critical thinking, and independence.

State education leaders have also committed to revising the Arts Curriculum Framework, which has not been updated since 1999. Curriculum frameworks are the guides districts and schools use to develop local curricula and to determine a quality education in each subject area. This is yet another step toward ensuring all Massachusetts students can reap the benefits of arts education.

Embracing the arts in this way does not mean that we are abandoning the quest to educate students at the highest academic levels. It means that we are furthering our mission to educate students to their highest potential.

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Mass Cultural Council Budget Restored


On Thursday afternoon September 28, the Massachusetts Senate voted to override Governor Charlie Baker’s summertime veto to the Mass Cultural Council budget, reversing a 13% cut to the creative community. This unanimous vote in the Senate and the earlier 138-14 vote in the House shows solid bipartisan support and makes a strong statement that arts and culture are public goods worthy of state investment. This vote officially brings the Mass Cultural Council FY18 budget back to $14 million and steers clear of devastating cuts to grants and programs.

Read the Boston Globe Editorial, which praises the override and urges political leaders to invest more in the arts.

This victory is a direct result of your advocacy and engagement. In March, 600 arts and cultural supporters marched to the State House on Arts Matter Advocacy Day to rally for more public investment in the arts. Over the past six months, arts advocates sent thousands of messages to state legislators requesting an override of the governor’s veto. Your engagement and outreach reached every member of the Legislature and resulted in 112 legislators signing onto the Mass Cultural Council Override Letter and committing to the override.

Your legislators need to know that their actions are appreciated. Send your legislators a note, thanking them for recommitting their support to arts and culture.

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Community Impact

The Drama Studio is one of a handful of youth theatres in the United States that offers quality, range, and depth in its acting training programs. For Springfield-area youth, the Studio's conservatory program offers an unusual opportunity for training that prepares its graduates (all of whom are college bound) to...