Is it a sign that arts and culture are afterthoughts in the campaign for Massachusetts governor if one candidate waits until less than two weeks before the election to announce an arts platform—and then doesn’t include it on the issues page of her website—and the other candidate doesn’t seem to have any arts platform at all?

Check out this timeline I’ve assembled of major statements from Martha Coakley and Charlie Baker on the arts:

October 24
On Oct. 24, just 11 days before the election, Martha Coakley announced her arts and cultural platform, MassCreative and the Massachusetts Artists Leaders Coalition reported.

“We’re excited to be here at the Victory Theater on Arts Matters Day. It’s been an issue in this campaign, it’s an important one for me,” Coakley said during a stop in Holyoke that day, according

Coakley reiterated these statements in an Oct. 30 guest post at the Massachusetts Artists Leaders Coalition website. Though as of today (Oct. 31) arts, culture and creative don’t seem to be mentioned anywhere on the “Issues” page of Coakley’s campaign website.

Baker responded to MassCreative’s arts and culture questionnaire “late in the day on Thursday, October 23,” and the arts advocacy group posted it the following morning, the group tells me. But searches for the words “art” and “culture” on Baker’s campaign website turn up nothing. Baker calls for “A state government that is as thrifty, creative and hard-working as its people,” but doesn’t talk about creativity in an arts context.

September 29
During Martha Coakley’s primary night remarks on Sept. 29, she apparently mentioned the arts once:
“We will learn from successful pilot, charter and innovation schools, and move from just teaching to the test to teaching children to love learning, and include music and art.”

Coakley touched on the arts as part of a plan to support the “innovation economy” that she presented at another event on Sept. 29:
“Support Growth in the Creative Economy: There are tens of thousands of jobs that are part of the Commonwealth’s creative economy, and it has served to particularly help revitalize many of our gateway cities in Merrimack Valley, Berkshire County, and others. The intersection between technology and the arts is stronger than ever before, with innovative digital games companies, theatre and special effects firms, printers, technology-based art firms, and more across the Commonwealth. The Coakley-Kerrigan Administration will recognize and support this industry’s impact, and support strategic investments which support its growth, such as makerspaces. For instance, the MassRISE regional investment initiative will support investments such as the revitalization of the Victory Theater in Holyoke which will serve as a key part of a revitalization of the downtown.”

August 29
On Aug. 29, the Massachusetts Artists Leaders Coalition reported that neither Coakley nor Baker had announced arts and culture platforms:
“At the time of this post, none of the two Republicans and only one of the three Democratic candidates competing in the September primaries for Governor had platforms/issues papers regarding our sector posted on their campaign websites. … We urge you to take the time to read the policy platform that has been posted this week by Candidate Grossman.”

Update: July 15
Coakley is one of six candidates who speak at the “Gubernatorial Candidates Forum on Arts, Culture and Creativity in Massachusetts” on July 15 at Worcester’s Hanover Theatre. Baker doesn’t attend. reports:
“Democratic candidate and Attorney General Martha Coakley said that she would create an undersecretary position who would work with state agencies as well as local arts councils. Increasing the budget to the Massachusetts Cultural Council would also be important, she said, as would increasing public transportation and affordable housing opportunities that artists could make use of. She stressed that adding art into the current Science, Technology, Engineering and Math curriculum currently in place would add an additional opportunity for creativity. ‘Having art and music and maybe a little recess is where we need to go,’ said Coakley. “I think we need to continue letting people learn about what they care about.’”

Categories: Art News