Dan Wolf 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?

I have three daughters, all of whom are deeply engaged in arts, culture, and creative pursuits.  They benefited remarkably from their youthful time at the Harwich Junior Theater, practically a stone’s throw from our home, where they learned so much more than the skills and confidence to take the stage.  They learned how important it is to be expressive, and to collaborate creatively.  My youngest daughter is now at the Tisch School at New York University, studying acting, expanding her life and ours with her creative commitment.


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.

I have been one of the longest serving members of the board of directors of the Arts Foundation of Cape Cod, which has provided financial and creative support to scores of artists and artistic institutions across the Cape.  I have seen first-hand how recognition, and financial support of even a very small amount, can transform the lives of artists in our community.  Without the arts and the creative economy, Cape Cod would not be the vibrant place it is. 


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?

Teaching to the test is not the right way to guide our schools.  Teachers should be empowered to teach creatively, and incorporating arts into the standard curriculum is crucial.  I would support making arts education a requirement, and support adding “arts” to the STEM program.


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?

Funding for the Massachusetts Cultural Council should be returned to levels of previous decades, much higher than today.  As co-chair of the Massachusetts Cultural Caucus, I have helped protect and rebuild MCC funding, but more needs to be done.  In addition, we should look hard at a recently enacted reform in Rhode Island that exempts locally produced arts from sales tax at a local point of sale.


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?

 Artists and their creative process are wonderful role models for kids of every walk of life, in every community.  Mentorships should be state supported and fostered across the Commonwealth.  In addition, public funding of art installations and presentations in public spaces should be redoubled.  Art as a community response to social issues of every kind should be encouraged and supported.


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?

$27 million is a good goal, still a serious reduction in terms of purchasing power versus 1988, but a worthy target.

  • 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?

The cultural facilities fund should be doubled.  It is a dramatic success story, both as economic development and artistic investment.

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

We need to overhaul our revenue system so that appropriate funding and investment in the arts can be done without pulling those resources away from other important priorities.  A tax code that does not put additional pressure on the middle class, but rather recognizes how our top-heavy economy has evolved in recent decades, is crucial.  The resources are there, provided we have the political will to reform our tax code.

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