Orange and Wendell Area Arts, Culture, and Creative Leaders Meet With State Rep. Denise Andrews

October 30, 2014—MASSCreative announced today that leaders and supporters of arts and culture in Orange and Wendell met with state Rep. Denise Andrews at Bohemian Kitchen in Orange on October 28. They discussed the candidate’s vision for the creative community in the 2nd Franklin district.

Andrews described the role arts and culture play in bringing tourism to the district and revitalizing the area. While discussing the challenges Franklin and Worcester County artists and arts organizations have in access to capital, innovative space, and business networks, Andrews emphasized the need to connect artists and arts organizations with the area chambers of commerce and tourism bureaus, community development corporations, and local banks.

Andrews also described her personal connection with the arts as starting at a young age when playing the saxophone and being nurtured by arts and cultural organizations in her district, including the 1974 Meeting House.

Andrews promised to increase investment in the arts by growing the Massachusetts Cultural Council budget, and emphasized the need for much more aggressive investment in rural towns and challenged neighborhoods. A supporter of adding ‘arts’ to the Commonwealth’s STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) initiative, Andrew committed to advocating for transforming the program to STEAM.

“Nonprofit arts and cultural organizations in Massachusetts support more than 45,000 jobs, spend $2.1 billion annually, and generate another $2.5 billion of economic activity,” said Matt Wilson, Executive Director of MASSCreative. “We see the impact of the arts locally here in Orange and Wendell through the work of the local cultural councils, which make the arts accessible to young children, students, families, and older adults. They also help support working artists. We look forward to working with lawmakers in the next legislative session to ensure that the Commonwealth is getting the most out of its investment in the arts.”

Arts and cultural leaders including Lou Leelyn of Upcycle and Artisans of Western Mass; Deb Habib of Seeds of Solidarity;  Phyllis Lawrence of Wendell Cultural Council; and Mary Menne Hakkinen of Bohemian Kitchen met with Andrews.

MASSCreative is meeting with candidates through the Create the Vote Coalition—a collaboration of Massachusetts arts, cultural, and creative institutions convened by MASSCreative. The Create the Vote Coalition is also asking candidates for governor and state legislative office to fill out an arts questionnaire. You can read Denise Andrews’ answers to the Create the Vote candidate questionnaire here.

On July 15, the Coalition hosted the historic Gubernatorial Forum on Arts, Culture, and Creativity, the first-ever gubernatorial debate about arts and culture. The Forum was held at The Hanover Theatre in Worcester and attended by 500 artists, cultural leaders, and members of the public.  Candidates Don Berwick, Attorney General Martha Coakley, Evan Falchuk, Mark Fisher, Treasurer Steve Grossman, and Jeff McCormick answered questions from moderator Joyce Kulhawik and arts leaders from around the state. A video of the Forum is available here.


Founded in 2012, MASSCreative works with creative leaders and entrepreneurs, working artists, arts educators, and arts and cultural supporters to empower creative organizations and the public with a powerful voice to advocate for the resources and support necessary to build vibrant and connected communities.

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