#ArtsMatter Advocacy Day: 250 march for arts & culture
On Wednesday, March 25th, nearly 250 arts advocates from across the state traveled to Boston to represent the statewide creative community at #ArtsMatter Advocacy Day. In the morning, we convened at the striking Citi Wang Theatre to kick off a day of storytelling, marching, and advocacy. Our moderator, Joyce Kulhawik, helped set the tone for the day, rousing up the audience and welcoming an array of speakers beginning with the House Chair of the Tourism, Arts, and Cultural Development Committee Rep. Cory Atkins, and closing with Boston Chief of Arts and Culture Julie Burros.
Arts and cultural leaders took the mic to reflect on the impact of our work as a community and rally us to take action. Sara Stackhouse from Actors’ Shakespeare Project lead a discussion about effective storytelling, tying together our own personal narratives with the story of our community and what our greatest needs are as a grassroots movement. We rounded out the day with a role play exercise, where Vanessa Snow from Hyde Square Task Force and Senate Chair of the Tourism, Arts, and Cultural Development Committee Sen. Eric Lesser demonstrated how to make bold asks of our legislators.
The energy at the Citi Wang Theatre was electric, and as a unified crowd, we carried that energy forward in the #ArtsMatter March to the State House. Wielding flashy signs and accompanied by the Jamaica Plain HONK! Band and Tufts BEATs, scores of arts advocates headed down Tremont Street, turning heads and even encouraging passersby to join in. After crossing Boston Common, marchers descended on the State House to JP HONK's lively rendition of "When the Saints Go Marching In." It’s safe to say we got the #ArtsMatter message across – both in the State House and on the streets!
Check out StageSource's video of the #ArtsMatter March.
After passing through the State House gates together, advocates spread out all over the State House, heading over to meetings with more than a third of the Massachusetts Legislature. In meetings with legislators and staff members, advocates discussed the role of arts and culture in driving the economy, enhancing education, and building community. Together, we boldly asked legislators to:
Boost funding for arts and culture through the Massachusetts Cultural Council budget;
Advocate for an arts education admission requirement for the state university system;
Encourage Gov. Baker to continue funding the Cultural Facilities Fund at $15 million.
Thanks to our united efforts, we had meaningful conversations with many senators and representatives and made the case that arts matter in Massachusetts. Check out all the action of the day, captured on our storify page.