Arts Commentary: Do Boston’s Mayoral Candidates Support the Arts? Who Knows? — An Update

By Bill Marx.

It isn’t often that the endemic indifference of the political and media powers-that-be to the arts can be seen so clearly. Usually, for the airbrushed sake of fundraising, glad-handing, or civic boosterism, half-hearted homage is paid to the power of the arts and the value of culture (at least for tourism).

But it is actions that speak louder than words, and I thought it was worth posting critic Joyce Kulhawik’s recent piece about a mayoral debate being scheduled at the same time as a previously scheduled Mass Creative Mayoral Forum on the Arts. Some of the candidates are holding firm—others may not.

The diss makes perfect sense given that two of the debate’s media sponsors—the Boston Herald and NECN—think the arts are negligible. Their coverage is pitiful when it isn’t invisible. Still, Boston’s Suffolk University presents serious theater performances and films—why should an institution of higher learning turn its back on a forum on the arts? A chance to cozy up to the power players?

It is well worth following Joyce’s advice about ways to protest the decision. Those who champion the arts need to realize that talk is cheap—we have to agitate for a place at the political table, as well as respect from the mainstream media. [See update below]

By Joyce Kulhawik.


OUTRAGEOUS. Look what the HERALD, NECN, and SUFFOLK UNIVERSITY have done—scheduled a TV MAYORAL DEBATE at exactly the same day/time that MassCreative’s Mayoral Forum on the Arts, Culture and Creativity has been scheduled at the Paramount Center! Seven candidates have already committed to the Forum, organized 10 weeks ago by MassCreative’s Create the Vote—and we are asking those candidates to keep their promise. So far candidates Marty Walsh, Bill Walczak, John Barros, Charlotte Golar-Ritchie, and Michael Ross said they would honor their commitment and attend—see Ed Siegel’s splendid post.

The arrogant decision made by the aforementioned Boston Media Consortium to set the conflicting date is a truly nasty way to deal with the arts community in this town and further evidence of the low regard in which we are held in some quarters.

The arts community needs your voice now! Please spread the word to friends, followers, arts lovers and ask for their support in encouraging all the candidates to attend the Arts Forum as promised! Matt Wilson executive director of MassCreative has listed 3 things you can do right now to make our Forum a success:

1) Send an email or make a quick call to the candidates thanking them for committing to the Create the Vote Candidate Forum. (See below for contact info.)

2) Tweet your concern about the media consortium’s decision to schedule their event at the last minute to conflict with our event. Suggested tweets:

Not happy that @NECN @BostonHerald @Suffolk_U r planning debate same day/time as #CreatetheVote #BosMayor forum!

Then follow it with this:

Ask #BosMayor candidates to keep promise to attend #CreatetheVote forum! #bospoli

3) Redouble our efforts to pack the Paramount (600 seats!) by sending out an email and social media alerts to recruit your constituents and audiences to the Forum. Let’s fill the Paramount and show the candidates that the creative community has the ear of the voters.

Candidate Contacts:
Arroyo 857-400-VOTE (8683)
Barros 617-860-2832/617 936-7180
Conley 617-227-2013 – (HAS NOT YET COMMITTED TO ATTEND)
Connolly 617-942-0136
Consalvo 617-272-3041 (HAS NOT YET COMMITTED TO ATTEND)
Golar-Ritchie 617-227-8087
Ross 617-652-0501
Walczak 617-858-1242
Walsh 617-742-2103

Update: The powers-that-be hate publicity and a little righteous push back. They have backed down. (See the statement below from Mass Creative). Now if only we can keep the pressure up and get more substantial arts coverage out of the mainstream media and support for the arts from politicians. — Bill Marx

From Mass Creative Today:
We have good news to share about the September 9th Create the Vote Mayoral Candidate Forum..

This afternoon I received a call from the Media Consortium of Suffolk, the Herald and NECN. They have decided to move its planned debate from 7PM to 8 PM. removing the conflict with our event. Thanks to the Consortium for their flexibility and their willingness to change the time of their event.

All seven of the candidates that originally confirmed to come to the Forum, have reconfirmed. We are redoubling our efforts on candidates Conley and Consalvo to attend.

I want to commend the mayoral candidates who did not waver from their original commitments to attend the Create the Vote Forum. They all showed their deep and growing commitment to the issues of arts, culture and creativity. It is a good sign of what is to come from the next administration.

We are looking forward to September 9th as the Forum will give the creative community the opportunity to hear first hand the candidate’s position on the issues. It will also give us the opportunity to show the candidate that voters care about these issues.

Bottom line, this week showed what the creative community can do when we stick together and use our collective voice to stand tall and show the importance that our community plays in fabric of our city.

Thanks for all your help over the past couple of days. It is exciting to see what we can do when we pull together as one.

Most importantly, we now need to focus on filling the Paramount on September 9th. The capacity is 600 and we have 356 RSVPs. Let’s get to work and get our folks there.

Posted in ,

Leave a Comment

Recent Posts