Paul Heroux 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?

 Art is a form of expression. The art that I have engaged in for over 25 years is the martial arts. This is something that I have traveled all over Massachusetts to pursue when I was a teenager, and then all over the country since I have been an adult. In addition to that, I very much enjoy the symphony arts. And personally, I enjoy creative writing.

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.

Attleboro is a community that is increasingly growing its involvement in the arts. We have several art museums. Attleboro is also a very ethnically diverse community where there are several art festivals and performing art exhibitions that members of our community can attend. This is considered one of the highlights of our community. I have showed my support by attending these events.

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 do not know enough about the thoughts of the admissions committees at our state university system before I can comment on the admissions requirements including arts. I am not an expert on what is needed to promote the arts; however I have no problem being a champion when my support is requested.

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?

I have co-sponsored several bills that support the arts in Massachusetts. Making sure that grants are available to foster art education as well and state bonds are available to assist Gateway Communities refurbish buildings to become museums are important things that the legislature can do. Also, we can make sure that Chapter 70 funds – education funds – will be sufficient so that we do not see cuts in public schools.

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?

In my district, as mentioned above, we are a very diverse community. Using the arts as a way to bring people together from different backgrounds to better understand and appreciate the differences between the sub-groups within our community is one of the benefits of promoting the arts. A community that recreates together will thrive together.


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?

Whatever is presented to me from the arts community that is well documented and compelling, I am willing to support.

  • 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?

Whatever is presented to me from the arts community that is well documented and compelling, I am willing to support.

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

I would do this but I don’t know if House leadership will go along with it.

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