Jeffrey Roy Response

Personal Connection

What personal experience with arts, culture, or creativity had an impact on your life and your view of the community?

From my days a cello player in my youth, to my present member of and guitar player in the band Ben Gardner’s Boat, I have been keenly aware of the ability of the arts to help me better understand and interpret the world. Indeed, the arts improve our ability to think critically and act creatively, and the arts offer the opportunity to communicate. 


Arts and Culture in Your District

Please provide us with a story of the impact a local arts or cultural institution brings to your district.

I am currently working with the Franklin Performing Arts Center which opened its Black Box Theater in downtown Franklin on September 20, 2014. I am confident that this theater will have a transformative impact on Franklin’s downtown and will help the community continue along the path as a vibrant community that supports the arts. Moreover, it will breathe new life into the downtown area and be an economic boost for the restaurants and other venues in that area.


Arts Education and Programs for our Youth

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?

As a member of the Franklin School Committee from 2001-2012, I fought to strengthen arts education in the community. I was active in the effort to introduce the Franklin Arts Academy at Franklin High School. The Franklin Arts Academy is a pathway within Franklin High School designed to give students with an interest in the performing and visual arts an opportunity to explore their area of passion. These academic classes are designed to deliver high quality standards fully integrating the arts with a process driven curriculum.

And here is a quote from a speech I delivered at the grand opening of our Sculpture Park in Franklin in 2014, which addresses your remaining questions. “Arts are not a luxury but a necessity. We hear often discussions about the importance of STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math). But such a focus neglects the importance of the arts. So the next time you hear someone talk about stem, urge them to expand the discussion to STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts, and math). Remind them that the arts are not simply about some vague notion of “creativity.” The arts provide a way of thinking and a way to be engaged. The arts are about vision. About having that ability to see.”

Finally, I have also included below a newspaper clip which mentions some of these efforts from a School Committee meeting several years ago. 


Economic Development

How will the legislature foster an ecosystem which supports the creative community and industry across the Commonwealth?

Through greater support of arts education, cultural councils, and the further development of the creative economy networks initiative, we can bolster economic development in Massachusetts. I will continue to support these efforts in the Legislature.


Addressing the Commonwealth’s Socioeconomic Issues

Can you provide examples on how you would utilize the arts, cultural, and creative community to address the Commonwealth’s social and economic challenges?

At the ceremony naming the 495/MetroWest area as part of the creative economy networks initiative in March of this year, I noted that one of the main goals of a Massachusetts legislator is to promote the economic growth of his or her particular district which in turn promotes the economic growth of  the Commonwealth’s economy. The partnership of the 495/MetroWest region with the Creative Economy Network will help incorporate the unique group of innovative companies and educated workers that the MetroWest area has to offer with the rest of the Commonwealth. That’s one prime example of what we can do to address these challenges.


The Commonwealth’s Support and Role in the Creative Community

• At what level would you fund the MCC?

I would like to see the funding restored to the 1988 levels and more. But I am mindful of the pressure on the Legislature to pass a balanced budget. As the economy begins to flourish, I will advocate for greater funding in this area of the budget.

• At what level do you suggest the Commonwealth fund the Massachusetts Cultural Facilities Fund?

As noted in my prior answer, I would like to see increased funding for facilities. But, again, I am mindful of the pressure on the Legislature to pass a balanced budget. As the economy begins to flourish, I will advocate for greater funding in this area of the budget.

• 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 be willing to work with my colleagues to develop a dedicated revenue stream and would be interested in meeting with cultural officials to learn more about the possibilities in this area.

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