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THE MASSACHUSETTS LEGISLATURE AND ARTISTS

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By CHRISTIAN HOLLAND


The following questions were submitted to Big RED and Shiny by artists and organizers in the arts in Massachusetts. The questions were sent to four members of the state's legislature and State Treasure Timothy Cahill. Each one of legislators holds a key policymaking post in our state's government for the support of artists and the "Creative Economy" and, along with the Treasurer, sponsored the first annual Artists Under the Dome event in November.

They are:
Senator Brian A. Joyce
Joint Committee on Tourism, Arts and Cultural Development, Chairman
Representative Eric Turkington
Joint Committee on Tourism, Arts and Cultural Development, Chairman
Senator Jack Hart
Joint Committee on Economic Development and Emerging Technologies, Chairman
Representative Daniel E. Bosley
Joint Committee on Economic Development and Emerging Technologies, Chairman

The legislators were each given four weeks to respond to the questions.

QUESTION 1:
Submitted by: Chuck Lathrop, Chairman, South Shore Advocacy for Art
-Since nearly all artists are micro businesses and suffer loses every single year, what is your stand on artists receiving tax credits to help support artists and the arts?

RESPONSES:
Sen Joyce: Sen. Joyce would be inclined to support such an intiative.
Rep. Turkington: no response
Sen. Hart: no response
Rep. Bosley: no response

QUESTIONS 2&3:
Submitted by:
James Hull, Independent Curator, Artist, Educator
- Can more of the historic mill and warehouse buildings be spared from the pressure of so-called " development" to remain the affordable, industrially zoned art factories of New England's creative economy? How can legislators reward the building owners of the few affordable artist studios ( NOT live - work) buildings so that they continue to personally subsidize the arts incubators or R&D laboratories that are so essential to the regions economic growth?

RESPONSES:
Sen Joyce: On this topic, Sen. Joyce helped create the Artists Lofts at the former historic Walter Baker Administration Buidling in Dorchesterd that had been closed before he got involved.
Rep. Turkington: no response
Sen. Hart: no response
Rep. Bosley: no response

- Would you consider supporting use of the new Convention and Exhibition Center for an annual arts event to showcase regional & Boston-based artists and artists' products and to generate hotel and hospitality business in the area in the way Art Fairs in Miami and New York have done so successfully?

RESPONSES:
Sen Joyce: Sen. Joyce would certainly support and any conventions that not only promote local artists, but would also generate revenue for the area.
Rep. Turkington: no response
Sen. Hart: no response
Rep. Bosley: no response

QUESTION 4:
Submitted by: tommey, President and Founder, Artists at Large, Inc.
- Are the arts supported for the purpose of culture (quality of life) or as just another economic frontier?

RESPONSES:
Sen. Joyce: no response
Rep. Turkington: no response
Sen. Hart: no response
Rep. Bosley: no response

QUESTION 5:
Submitted by: Francine Koslow Miller, Director, International Association of Art Critics, New England
- I would like to know where writers can go for support of educational projects. There seems to be very little available to critics in Boston.

RESPONSES:
Sen. Joyce: no response
Rep. Turkington: no response
Sen. Hart: no response
Rep. Bosley: no response

Response From Treasurer Timothy Cahill's office to Big RED and Shiny's letter:
Thank you for your email. Treasurer Cahill is proud to be a sponsor of Artists Under the Dome and hopes to be able to attend part of the event.

The topics addressed in the questions below are all important and complex. Unfortunately, these issues don't fall under the purview of the Treasury, and Treasurer Cahill is hesitant to provide answers without having sufficient perspective on each of these topics. Therefore, I hope you understand why he can't respond with detailed answers to the questions you've submitted.

The Massachusetts State Lottery Commission, which Treasurer Cahill chairs, has returned over $700 million in aid to the arts since 2000. The Treasurer recognizes the importance of the arts community in a creative economy and well rounded society, and we look forward to a continued and productive relationship with this community in the years to come.

Many thanks, and we look forward to Thursday's event,

Alison Mitchell
Communications Director
State Treasurer Tim Cahill

Response from Rep. Turkington's office to Big RED and Shiny's letter:
This is the Chairman's legislative aide, Jon Wilson. I am sorry for the tardiness of this response, but because of pressing legislative matters of late, Rep. Turkington has simply not had the time to sit down and work out these questions. The questions were thoughtful and insightful, and the Chairman felt he would be doing you a disservice if he didn't devote adequate time on the responses. He would like you to keep him in mind in the future, however. You caught us at a bad time.

Thank you,
Sincerely,
Jonathan Wilson
Massachusetts House of Representatives
Legislative Aide: Office of Chairman Eric Turkington


About Author

Christian Holland is an aspiring New York City-based essayist who likes writing about how New York City isn't the center of the world. He was executive editor and founding contributor of Big, Red & Shiny, and sat on the publication's board for V2.

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