Tyler Green
Art-focused Journalism by Tyler Green

Tyler Green Modern Art Notes

The facts on Mitt Romney and jobs in the arts

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In last night’s debate, Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney talked a lot about job creation and how he’s good at it.

Not when it comes to jobs in the arts. The creative industries are a big job creator in Massachusetts. They make up 2.3 percent of all Massachusetts jobs. There are more people who work in arts-related fields in Massachusetts than who work in turning livestock and agricultural goods into food.

Here’s Romney’s record on arts jobs:

  • As governor, Mitt Romney repeatedly tried to cut funding for arts jobs in Massachusetts. In 2006 and 2007 he tried to cut the appropriation for the Massachusetts Cultural Council, cuts which, if enacted, would have cut hundreds of jobs.
  • Romney opposed the major cultural funding initiative of his tenure, the creation of the Massachusetts Cultural Facilities Fund, which makes capital improvement funds available to arts institutions. Romney line-item vetoed the CFF, but by a 33-3 vote (!) the state legislature overrode his veto. The fund has been important to arts organizations such as the MFA Boston, the ICA Boston, MASS MoCA and dozens of smaller organizations, all of whom have used the funding to renovate or expand existing facilities. The CFF has created 8,800 jobs. Mitt Romney tried to stop it from being created.

See my column in this month’s Modern Painters magazine for more.

Image: The Bakalar Gallery at the Massachusetts College of Art and Design, photo via Flickr user Nick Sherman. The Bakalar and Paine Galleries are the largest free contemporary art spaces in the region. Originally part of Boston Normal School, the three-story facility was constructed in 1905-06 and has undergone only minor renovations since. MassArt has received two Massachusetts Cultural Facilities Fund grants related to the Bakalar gallery: A planning grant and a grant for the renovation and expansion of the galleries.

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