via Tracie Konopinski at @masscreative
BOSTON, June 24, 2020—MASSCreative announces today that it is launching this year’s non-partisan, grassroots Create the Vote campaign with a focus on increasing civic engagement and strengthening our democracy. Led by MASSCreative’s Create the Vote Steering Committee, the campaign will use art and culture to develop creative strategies to register people to vote, educate voters about casting ballots by mail, getting people to participate in the electoral process, advocate for safer in-person elections, and turning people out to vote.
“Many of us are intensely focused on this year’s presidential election,” said MASSCreative Executive Director Emily Ruddock. “But important decisions that affect the communities in which we live are made by local officials. These include regulations around policing, education, and public investment in community-based arts. There are many ways to build a better world, but the easiest and most effective way to make change is by electing candidates for state and local office who share your views for a racially just world in which we all have access to creative expression that reflects our lives.”
The Create the Vote Steering Committee is led by MASSCreative, MassVOTE, and The Theater Offensive in collaboration with ArtsBoston, Arts Foundation of Cape Cod, Dunamis, Elevated Thought, Front Porch Arts Collective, Massachusetts Artists Leaders Coalition (MALC), the New England Museum Association, and StageSource.
“Arts and culture help advance our society and civic life.” said Harold Steward, The Theatre Offensive’s Producing Co-Executive Director. “Through art and culture, we examine the present world, share visions of new possibilities, and take bold action steps to make these possibilities our lived reality. Engaging in voter registration, education and turnout is a natural space for artists and culture workers, because when we vote we bring forth our imaginative futures.”
“Our fall elections will look like nothing that has ever taken place in Massachusetts before,” said Cheryl Clyburn Crawford, Executive Director at MassVOTE. “More people will opt to vote by mail, and at the same time, more people will be voting early. Yet with these modifications come challenges, namely ensuring that polling places are adequately staffed, and that local election officials have the resources to handle the massive influx of mailed ballots. With this in mind, we are honored and privileged to be partnering with MASSCreative in promoting public education around our fall elections. Their unique experiences and insight will prove pivotal in our combined effort to make sure that voters have the tools they need to vote safely this fall.”
“The creative ecosystem is experiencing catastrophic disruption from the COVID-19 pandemic. Many of us are struggling to reimagine the future of our sector while also trying to manage the details of reopening, restarting, and staying financially afloat in the meanwhile,” added Ruddock. “In the midst of this, a massive, grassroots resurgence of the Black Lives Matter movement, in which artists have played key roles, is calling for an end to racial inequities in policing, education, and our criminal-legal system. It is incredibly important that artists, culture workers, arts and cultural organizations, and arts and culture advocates increase their civic engagement to strengthen our democracy in 2020.”
Create the Vote is a non-partisan, grassroots campaign to engage voters and candidates for office in Massachusetts on the vital role that arts, culture and creative expression play in improving our schools, strengthening our economy, and building neighborhoods where people want to live, work, and play. MASSCreative has collaborated with arts and culture advocates on Create the Vote campaigns in communities across the Commonwealth since 2013, when its inaugural campaign elevated arts and culture issues during the 2013 Boston mayoral election. Since then, Create the Vote campaigns have supported local advocacy efforts to encourage candidates to develop cultural policies for their cities, towns, and school districts, and to lead by example by convening community leaders on the arts and by attending arts and cultural events.
“This year’s reimagining of the Create the Vote campaign to focus on the use of art, culture, and creativity to deepen civic engagement will strengthen partnerships and collaborations across sectors,” said Ruddock. “This people-powered approach is how we create lasting change.”
You can sign up to get Create the Vote updates here: http://www.mass-creative.org/ctv2020signup
You can sign the #CreateTheVote pledge here: http://www.mass-creative.org/ctv2020pledge
Follow the campaign on Twitter with the hashtag #CreateTheVote. You can also “like” us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter @MASSCreative, and visit http://www.mass-creative.org/ctv.
MASSCreative works with artists, cultural councils, arts organizations and the broader creative community to build a Commonwealth where arts and creativity are an expected, recognized, and valued part of everyday life. Working with our coalition of 400 arts and cultural organizations and artists from across the Commonwealth, MASSCreative uses public education and awareness, grassroots organizing, advocacy campaigns, and other civic and political engagement to ensure that arts, culture, and creativity are considered when important policy and political decisions get made at the state and local level.