South Deerfield Area Arts, Culture, and Creative Leaders Meet With Candidates for State Rep

October 30, 2014—MASSCreative announced today that leaders and supporters of arts and culture in South Deerfield met with incumbent state Rep. Steven Kulick and challenger Dylan Korpita in separate meetings at Deerfield Arts Bank on October 28. They discussed both candidates’ visions for the creative community in the 1st Franklin district.

Rep. Kulick extolled the district’s rich arts and cultural offerings, which have led to Cultural District designations in Shelburne Falls, Montague, and Turners Falls. “The Cultural District designation draws visitors to the region, where the combination of the arts and the natural beauty of the area combine to support economic activity and jobs in the arts,” Kulick said.

Kulick spoke about his long-term support of the creative community during budget season as vice chair of the House Committee on Ways and Means. Rep. Kulik added that he will continue to work closely with the Legislative Cultural Caucus, leadership of the Massachusetts Cultural Council, and the Joint Committee on Tourism, Arts, and Cultural Development to bring the highest possible levels of funding through the state budget to support the creative community.

Challenger Korpita discussed the many outlets and avenues for arts and culture in the district from Ashfield Community Theater to Deerfield Academy to the array of fall festivals. “We are so lucky to live in an area that nurtures talent and showcases the creativity of our local artists,” Korpita said. “We have a robust cultural identity.”

Korpita proposed keeping funding for the Massachusetts Cultural Council and the Cultural Facilities Fund at current levels, $12 million and $15 million respectively. “Any increase or decrease in funding would require looking at the most and least successful programs,” he said.

Korpita added that he wants to keep arts education in schools, but doesn’t see requiring one years of arts education in high school as the solution. “We should give teachers the freedom to teach in areas like the arts by moving away from Common Core,” he said.

Jane Trigère and Ken Schoen of Deerfield Arts Bank spoke with both candidates about the importance of business support for artists and art institutions, including that given locally by Yankee Candle, Deerfield Academy, and local banks. They also talked about the need to bring in more visitors to the district.

“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 South Deerfield 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.”

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 Korpita’s 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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