“They Got Me Through High School”

I have always been an arts advocate, but in the past year I have come to realize how important this work is, and the change it can create. Last fall’s mayoral race was thrilling here in Boston because of the role that arts policies had in the race. The forum at the Paramount Center was at capacity, and the buzz was palatable. And do you know what was/is more thrilling? That Mayor Walsh is committed to being a champion of the arts, and his work is supporting that.



The arts aren’t separate from the rest of society, they are an important part of the fabric of our city, our state, and our region. As has been stated before, we aren’t nice, we’re necessary. We get that. But as an arts community, we sometimes separate our roles as citizens and artists. Or we look to others to do our advocacy work for us, not understanding that each one of us has to do the work for ourselves. That can be as simple as signing a petition, or forwarding an action alert. Or it could be more involved than that.

Saturday, June 14 I volunteered for MASSCreative, a non partisan advocacy organization, to work at the Democratic Convention in Worcester. (I missed volunteering at the Republican convention because of a mystery writers’ event.) We were there to let people know about the #CreateTheVote campaign, and to get people to tell us why #ArtsMatter. I heard a lot of great stories from people, but one really stuck out for me. A woman walked by, looked at the sign on our table saying “ArtsMatter”, and said, “they got me through high school”. She told us her stories, sign the petition, and took a button, promising to try and make it to the Hanover Theater on July 15 for the #CreateTheVote forum.

The arts got me through high school as well. They got a lot of us through high school, but not everyone has that same opportunity these days. This is one reason advocacy is so important. One of many.

The arts matter to me, and they likely matter to you, since you are reading this blog. Let’s make sure they also matter to the next governor of Massachusetts, whomever he or she is. On July 15, there is going to be a #CreateTheVote Gubernatorial Forum on Arts, Culture, and Creativity in Worcester, at the Hanover Theatre. It starts at 6pm, but there will be a reception beforehand. Please consider attending–by filling the Hanover we can let the candidates know that the arts matter, and need to be on the agenda of the next governor. You can RSVP here. People are working on making buses available to bring people there, and we will let you know how that effort is going.

I hope to see you there!

About jhennrikus

Julie Hennrikus is the Executive Director of StageSource
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