Tim Toomey 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?

When I was in elementary school, I had a student mentor from the Phillips Brooks House at Harvard. As a part of this program, my mentor brought me to the Fogg and Busch-Reisinger Museums at Harvard. It was my first real exposure to the arts and had a lasting impact on me. This experience helped me understand how important access to arts education is for young people, a view I still hold today as a legislator. 

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.

The Portuguese feasts and the Italian Feast of Cosmas and Damian held in East Cambridge are important community traditions in my district. These events help neighbors celebrate and educate each other about their heritage, and remind us of Cambridge and Somerville's rich history of welcoming immigrants from all over the world. 
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 support adding an arts requirement and incorporating the arts into the Commonwealth's STEM program. I see the arts as a way to foster the necessary critical thinking and creativity skills that our children will need in order to succeed in our rapidly evolving economy. 
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?

Continuing our efforts to increase funding for the Mass Cultural Council is key to supporting the creative community in Massachusetts. MCC grants provide critical support for local artists and cultural organizations,and are contributing to efforts to foster a love and appreciation of the arts in our state's children. We cannot sustain or grow the level of economic activity that arts and culture generate without teaching a new generation to be passionate about arts and culture as well.

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?

While Cambridge and Somerville are important centers of arts and culture within greater Boston, both communities are quickly becoming more difficult for small arts organizations to locate themselves in due to rising rents and property values. I have proposed utilizing a portion of Cambridge's recently-acquired Foundry Building to provide space for the arts, which will help maintain community access to the arts and provide organizations with affordable space for their programming. 
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?

I think the legislature's first goal should be to restore MCC funding to pre-recession levels, or roughly $14.5 million when adjusted for inflation. This level still does not come close to where we years ago, and my goal is to ultimately see MCC funding restored to those levels. I supported an increase to $16 million this past budget and will support higher funding levels as fiscal conditions allow.

  • 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?

I supported authorizing an addition $50 million over five years for the Cultural Facilities Fund. This is a critical program and will continue to have my 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 support creating a new revenue stream that would fund the arts in a more predictable, sustainable way. I feel the most appropriate and equitable way to raise new revenue is through the institution of a graduated income tax, but I would also support the institution of a new tax or surcharge, similar to the Convention Center Financing surcharge, that would be dedicated to funding for the arts, cultural, and creative communities.



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