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Martin Walsh vows commitment to flourishing Boston arts scene

Martin J. Walsh met with the Create the Vote coalition on Beacon Hill to speak about arts and culture in Boston.

David L. Ryan/Globe Staff

Martin J. Walsh met with the Create the Vote coalition on Beacon Hill to speak about arts and culture in Boston.

Martin J. Walsh pledged Friday 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.

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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 work and services when engaging with the city.

Wesley Lowery

Walsh presents proposal for a greener city economy

One day after a local environmental group called on the two mayoral candidates to release comprehensive environmental plans, state Representative Martin J. Walsh rolled out proposals Friday on how he would better position the city to deal with fallout from climate change and foster a greener economy.

“We need to do our part to mitigate the effects of climate change and to increase our ability to confront and survive those changes, such as rising sea levels. A sustainable model for Boston must include clean energy technology and more efficient energy use,” Walsh said in a statement. “We need creative approaches to improve Boston’s air quality and save natural resources.”

He also said he would push to increase recycling rates, shift Boston toward more renewable energy production, and seek more “green’’ jobs.

The plan was released one day after the Environmental League of Massachusetts Action Fund called on the mayoral candidates to release detailed plans to protect the city from extreme weather events linked to climate change, such as Hurricane Sandy.

According to the Boston Harbor Association, Sandy’s storm surge could have flooded more than 80 million square feet of the city if the storm had hit Boston just 5½ hours earlier at high tide. Many mayoral candidates noted during the preliminary race that it would have meant City Hall would have been largely under water.

Included in Walsh’s plan are vows to:

Revise the Boston Climate Action Plan to aggressively reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Create incentives for construction companies to retrofit vehicles.

Ramp up anti-idling enforcement.

Work with utility partners to increase the safety of natural gas distribution pipelines.

Expand renewable energy opportunities — utilize wind, water, and solar energy.

The plan’s release capped off a week in which both campaigns rolled out significant policy proposals. Connolly unveiled plans for a Roxbury Entrepreneurship Center and a police pathway program based at Madison Park High School, while Walsh rolled out his arts plan and BRA plan.

Wesley Lowery

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