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Walsh vows commitment to arts

During a meeting with the Create the Vote Coalition, Martin Walsh pledged a commitment to the arts if elected mayor.

David L. Ryan/Globe staff

During a meeting with the Create the Vote Coalition, Martin Walsh pledged a commitment to the arts if elected mayor.

Martin J. Walsh pledged today to make funding for the arts a priority if he is elected mayor in November.

Walsh, speaking in front of a few dozen members of Boston’s art community, earned applause when he vowed to create a cabinet-level position and an Office of Cultural Affairs to find new ways to funnel resources to the arts.

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“Arts can change lives, build communities, create jobs, and create new opportunities for individuals, neighborhoods, and Boston as a whole,” said Walsh, a longtime state representative. “I will support the full range of art and expression that contribute to Boston’s collective culture and traditions. In my administration, artists will have a true partner and advocate in City Hall.”

The forum, sponsored by the Create the Vote coalition, was held in the meeting house of the Museum of African American History on Beacon Hill.

In conjunction with his morning speech, Walsh unveiled his plan for the arts and culture, which include boosting Boston’s film sector, conducting a needs assessment to protect Boston’s historical cultural assets, and partnering with the city archives to better promote their programs and exhibits.

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“I am going to make sure there is a line item in the city budget for arts in the City of Boston,” Walsh said, prompting more applause. “The arts is an economic engine for the City of Boston.”

Walsh’s full arts plan also includes:

-- An Artists First Initiative to address artists’ occupational health needs, professional development, affordable artist space, fair trade, and compensation.

-- Innovative uses of libraries, parks, and other city property and assets as venues for arts and culture, including temporary performances and exhibit spaces.

-- Ensuring that the city abides by fair labor standards, and that artists receive fair compensation for the work and services when engaging with the city.

Wesley Lowery can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @WesleyLowery.
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