House Increases Mass Cultural Council Budget

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On Thursday, April 26, the Massachusetts House passed its budget plan and took a stand for arts, culture, humanities, and sciences. It voted to fund the Mass Cultural Council at $14.5 million in FY19. This represents a $500,000 increase over last year’s allocation to the Mass Cultural Council and the recommendation of the House Ways and Means Committee earlier this month.

Your advocacy effectively helped secure over 100 cosponsors (a majority) onto Representative Cory Atkins’ amendment to fund the Mass Cultural Council at $17 million. Backed by majority support on the amendment and an increase in funding from the House, the creative community is in a strong position to continue advocating for $17 million for the Mass Cultural Council from the Senate.

We thank Speaker Robert DeLeo, Chairman Jeffrey Sánchez, and Representative Cory Atkins for their leadership and choosing to step up its investment in the arts and cultural sector. We also thank the 103 cosponsors on the Mass Cultural Council amendment and Representative Stephen Kulik, an arts champion who cited the increase in funding for the Mass Cultural Council in his floor speech about the final House budget. To thank your Representatives for standing up for arts and culture, send them a quick email through our easy-to-use online tool here.

The Senate will release its budget in May. Once again, we'll need you to take action to send a clear message that arts matter and it’s time for increased support for creativity and culture.

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MASSCreative Advocacy Helps NEA and NEH Win Budget Increases

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Overriding President Trump’s proposal to eliminate the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) and the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), Congress passed the finalized 2018 federal funding bill on March 23 that includes $3 million increases to both organizations. These increases will fund each agency at $152.8 million through September 30, 2018.

This victory came on the heels of our work to Save the NEA and NEH and Americans for the Arts’ Annual Arts Advocacy Day. In March, Program Advocate, Emily Ruddock traveled to the nation’s capital to join passionate arts advocates from across the country to share why the arts matter with their elected officials. Emily was joined by Massachusetts arts advocates  Nick Bazo of The Theater Offensive, Robin Hayden of Country Dance and Song Society, Mark Murphy of The American Academy of Arts & Sciences, Rob Southworth of School Works Lab, and Ann Wicks of New England Foundation for the Arts. The MA team met with the offices of all 11 Massachusetts Members of Congress, including both Senators Markey and Warren. During each office visit, the team delivered thousands of signatures from MA residents on our Save the NEA/NEH petition and shared stories of impact from young people from our #ArtsMatter poster project.  

Win one congressional win under our belt, another fight looms for next year’s 2019 budget, as President Trump’s FY19 budget also proposed to eliminate the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) and the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH).

“Shutting down these arts and humanities agencies isn’t about balancing the budget or cutting excess spending. These cuts are a direct attack on our values and all that arts, culture, and the humanities bring to building healthy, vibrant, and equitable communities across the country,” said MASSCreative Program Advocate Emily Ruddock.

MASSCreative will continue to follow the federal budget process and provide additional opportunities for members  to show the MA Congressional delegation that arts and culture are public good worthy of public investment.

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Local District Meetings with Elected Officials

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Looking for another opportunity to engage with your state elected officials around arts and culture? MASSCreative is holding a set of district meetings in May to bring together the public with local elected officials in several cities across the Commonwealth. These meetings will give residents and local elected officials an opportunity to discuss the strengths and challenges facing the creative community and the role arts and culture can play in addressing the needs of our cities and towns. Learn more about the upcoming district meetings here.

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In the News

In_the_media_1.jpgChildren play under Mobile Suspension, by artist Erwin Redl, part of the city of Spartanburg’s public art project, “Seeing Spartanburg in a New Light.”

 

From Route Fifty:

Investments in the Arts Strengthen Local Economies and Communities Read More

 

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Barry’s Blog: A two-part Interview with MASSCreative's Matt Wilson

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Barry Hessenius, who writes a national blog about the arts and creative community published a two-part interview with MASSCreative Executive Director Matt Wilson on April 9 and 10.  The interview provides an in-depth look at MASSCreative’s six-year history and its groundbreaking approach to arts advocacy.

You can read Part One here and Part Two here.

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Essex County Community Foundation Launches its Creative Community Program

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Bringing together more than 400 arts leaders and supporters, from the North Shore, the Essex County Community Foundation launched its Creative Community program to increase support and resources for the arts and creativity.

MASSCreative Executive Director Matt Wilson led workshops to over 60 of the participants on how to build public will for the arts and creativity with city and state leaders in the county.

With support from the Barr Foundation and ECCF's donors, the Creative County Initiative will provide funding in three distinct areas over the next two years:

  • Local Cultural Plan Workshops/Toolkits - one-day workshops (offered in sub-regions of Essex County and in partnership with Metropolitan Area Planning Council and Merrimack Valley Planning Commision) to facilitate local cultural planning partnerships. We anticipate these will begin in the fall of 2018. Details available summer of 2018.
  • Creative Placemaking Grants - funding that encourages creative placemaking in communities. View Grant Guidelines.
  • Public Art Grants - funding for interactive public art projects that connect people through a shared experience. View Grant Guidelines.

The ECCF program is one of four regional programs funded by the Barr Foundation. Barr is also partnering with the Berkshire Taconic Foundation, the Worcester Community Foundation the Community Foundation of Southeastern Massachusetts and the Community Foundation of Western Massachusetts

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Franklin Cultural Council Holds Local Advocacy Day

 Franklin3.png  Franklin1.png                                                                   MASSCreative works with local cultural councils and arts leaders to conduct advocacy skills trainings.

Bringing together more than 50 local arts leaders from Franklin and nearby communities, the Franklin Cultural Council held a Community Arts Advocacy Day, a day-long program of workshops, panel discussions, and opportunities to advocate on behalf of arts and culture.

MASSCreative Program Advocate Emily Ruddock and MASSCreative Leadership Council Members Justin Springer and Nicky Enriquez led workshops on the skills and strategies local activists need to influence their elected leaders.

Lunch with elected officials including Rep. Roy (D-Franklin), Rep. Dykema (D-Holliston) and Rep. Murray (D-Milford) offered an opportunity for them to share their vision for more creative and vibrant Massachusetts and hear directly from arts supporters about why the arts and creativity matter.

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Community Impact

The Drama Studio is one of a handful of youth theatres in the United States that offers quality, range, and depth in its acting training programs. For Springfield-area youth, the Studio's conservatory program offers an unusual opportunity for training that prepares its graduates (all of whom are college bound) to...