VICTORY: Advocates override Gov. Baker's arts veto
On July 29th, six months of advocacy by the arts, cultural and creative community paid off as the Massachusetts Legislature successfully voted to override Governor Charlie Baker’s arts veto, restoring $2.3 million to the Massachusetts Cultural Council (MCC). This unanimous vote in the Senate and a 153-2 vote in the House showed bipartisan support and said loud and clear to Gov. Baker that state investment in arts and culture should be on his list of priorities.
This vote brought the Massachusetts Cultural Council budget back to $14.16 million, the largest increase in state investment in the past nine years.
This victory is a direct result of the creative community’s advocacy. In the week leading up to the Legislature’s vote, arts and cultural leaders and supporters sent over 4,000 messages to their Representatives and Senators. It was this flurry of activity that sparked Sen. Dan Wolf and Rep. William “Smitty” Pignatelli and 104 other legislators, a record number, to sign a letter to Leadership requesting their support for a veto override.
Create the Vote 2015: Injecting arts & culture into the 2015 elections
Elections are a great time to talk about the strengths and challenges our cities face and the vision for our community. That’s why, in 2013 during Boston’s mayoral election, MASSCreative launched Create the Vote to inject arts and culture into the conversation among candidates and voters. Since then, we’ve seen the Walsh Administration in Boston make good on some bold commitments, including hiring a new cabinet-level position for the arts, starting a citywide cultural planning process, and dedicating more funding in the city’s budget towards arts and culture.
Wouldn’t it be great if we could see that success in every city in Massachusetts? Now, with other cities embarking on mayoral and city council elections this fall, we’re partnering with arts and cultural leaders to bring Create the Vote to elections across the state.
Gloucester launched its own Create the Vote campaign on August 13, with their first Mayoral Debate on Arts and Culture, hosted by WBUR’s Greg Cook at the Cultural Center at Rocky Neck. A packed house heard several candidates support the idea of a cultural office and paid staffer for the City's arts and cultural sector. The Rocky Neck Art Colony, Gloucester’s Committee for the Arts, Arts Gloucester, and seARTS are busy planning for post-primary forums with candidates for city council and mayor in October.
Youth lead the BostonCreates conversation
With Boston's Cultural Planning Process in full-swing, youth involved in summer programs at Company One, Hyde Square Task Force, Urbano, and Actors Shakespeare Project came together to make sure that young people have a voice in BostonCreates, the city’s cultural planning process.
The August 12 gathering was facilitated by youth, with small group discussions addressing what young people want the future of arts and culture to look like in their neighborhoods and the City. The young people shared their ideas in creative ways, performing skits and spoken word.