City Councilor Michael Flaherty is the only candidate of the four men running for mayor of Boston that has an official written position on the creative economy, artists and arts&culture. We've posted a copy of Councilor Flaherty's "Ten Point Plan for Boston's Creative Economy" below.
Flaherty's 10 points are as follows:
1. Cabinet Level Position for Culture
2. Budget Reform
3. Services for Individual Artists of All Disciplines and Small Arts-Related Business Owners.
4. City Sponsored Annual Artist Day Event.
5. One Percent for Public Art.
6. Space for the Arts.
7. Space for Artists of all Disciplines.
8. Arts Grants.
9. Employment Support for Artists and Cultural Workers.
10. Engaging Colleges and Universities.
This list raises the bar of public support for artists and the arts, and all candidates and sitting policy-makers should take note. A cabinet-level position only makes sense for a city of Boston's size with a creative economy as large as ours (a Boston Redevelopment Authority flyer promoting Boston's creative economy reports that the city's creative industries pay annual wages in excess of $10.7 billion and employ 34,000). Space for artists is consistently a controversial policy issue for the city, and Boston's lack of a One-Percent-for-Art program is embarrassing. As far as Big RED can discern from their websites, none of the city councilor candidates have a creative economy platform.
Back in August, Big RED publisher, Matthew Nash noted that Mayor Thomas Menino "does not include any arts policy (usually referred to as "the creative economy" in politi-speak) on his website. However, Menino's record does include the creation of a Department of Arts and Cultural Development, which has made a visible impact."
The JP Gazette reported that City Councillor and mayoral candidate Sam Yoon would create "cabinet-level commissioner of arts and culture." Yoon also responded to Big RED's questions about his arts policy, as did Flaherty. Menino and the fourth mayoral candidate, Kevin McCrea, did not respond.
Boston's municipal (mayor, city council, etc) primary election is tomorrow, September 22, 2009. As always, Big RED & Shiny does not support any particular candidate for office, and encourages everyone to look closely at all policies of the candidates, including their arts policies, when choosing a mayor.