Making history with first-ever gubernatorial arts debate

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The creative community made history together when 500 arts and cultural supporters gathered for the first-ever gubernatorial candidate forum dedicated to arts and cultural issues. On July 15, Don Berwick, Martha Coakley, Evan Falchuk, Mark Fisher, Steve Grossman, and Jeff McCormick joined us at The Hanover Theatre in Worcester to answer questions from the community about arts, culture, and creativity. Ultimately, the event showed the candidates that arts matter in Massachusetts and should matter in this election.

In case you missed it, check out:

Over the next three months, the race to elect the next Governor of Massachusetts will provide candidates and voters the opportunity to discuss the strengths and challenges of the Commonwealth and debate how we can strengthen the economy, improve our schools, and make our communities healthier and safer. Arts matter in Massachusetts and should be a part of these discussions.

 

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   Share why Arts Matter to you in the governor's race!

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Right now the candidates for governor of Massachusetts are discussing how to best strengthen our economy, improve our schools, and make communities healthier and safer. Arts matter in Massachusetts and they should be part of the discussion.

We need to show that Massachusetts voters care about the arts!

Share your Arts Matter Story and join us for Arts Matter Days, September 12 and October 24.

 

Share your Arts Matter Story

We invite you, as executive directors, working artists, and arts supporters to be a part of the discussion. We all have stories of why arts matter to each of us. We need to share those stories to show that art isn’t just nice but necessary.

Share Your Arts Matter Story with us with a photo or short video. And check out our growing gallery of Arts Matter videos and photos.

 

Check out this video from James Grace executive director of the Arts & Business Council on why Arts Matter to him, and why arts should matter in the governor's race:

 

Join us for Arts Matter Days

As a way to give organizations and supporters a chance to share their story and engage in campaign actions, we’re holding two Arts Matter Days, on September 12 and October 24.

We have dozens of organizations who have pledged to take action, either though a traditional route in reaching out to supporters through email, curtain speeches, and programs; or through a more creative route by pulling together a unique event like a mural or performance.

Email Tracie at tkonopinski@mass-creative.org if you’re interested in having your organization take part in Arts Matter Days. 

  

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   Town of Medfield votes to double arts investment

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As chair of the Medfield Cultural Council, when Jean Mineo learned last year that other local cultural councils had secured municipal funding to supplement their state grants, she knew immediately she had to try the same thing.

“If other places were doing it, I figured we had a chance to try to make it happen in Medfield, too,” said Mineo, who is currently serving her last term on the council.

Spoiler alert: She made it happen.

In April, Town Meeting members approved a $4,250 appropriation to the Medfield Cultural Council, an amount matching the most recent allotment of state funds it received from the Massachusetts Cultural Council (MCC). The additional funding has enabled the council to double the number of grants it gives to local arts organizations, after two years of struggle in which it was only able to fulfill about 25 percent of their total funding request.

So how’d she do it? Mineo teamed up with MASSCreative’s organizing team to formulate a plan of action. She also worked closely with the Massachusetts Cultural Council and their Local Cultural Council program officer. Then she armed herself with a host of easily-digestible data that strongly made the case that funding the arts in Medfield was a sound―and eminently affordable―investment.

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   Making the case for art

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The message is out: arts aren’t just nice; they’re necessary. That was the point of a July 12 editorial by The Patriot Ledger making a strong case for how the arts can be employed as a tool to address issues facing the Commonwealth:

Art is nice. We hang it on our walls, listen to it over our iPods, we wrap ourselves in it when we wear that sweater Aunt Martha knit, it’s really nice when we taste it in the form of a Konditor Meister cake or smell an artisanal candle we bought at our local farmers market. But art and culture are also essential to building our communities and expanding our economies. And that’s why we’re so intrigued with the arts advocacy group MassCreative.

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   Join the team!

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Our search for a Create the Vote Campaign Organizer is on! MASSCreative seeks an energetic and talented organizer to work with the Create the Vote Coalition team through Election Day to help build a powerful grassroots political network of advocates, cultural leaders, and arts supporters to elect a governor of Massachusetts who is not just a supporter, but a champion of the arts.  Read more about this position’s responsibilities on our website. Applications for this position can be sent to Drew at desposito@mass-creative.org.

Each semester, we look for aspiring advocates who are looking to be a part of a grassroots change movement in their community. MASSCreative seeks Arts Advocacy Interns interested in campaign organizing and/or social media & communications. Read more about our internship positions on our website and spread the word to folks who would be a good fit. Applications should be sent to Drew at desposito@mass-creative.org.

We look forward to hearing from you and seeing you out in the community! Meanwhile, thanks for all that you do!

 

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   The Factory Theatre

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Last month, the managers of the Factory Theatre were informed that their lease would not be renewed and that the theater would have to close at the end of October. The Factory Theatre serves as affordable space for small theater groups and currently hosts the resident companies Fresh Ink Theatre, Happy Medium Theatre Company, Science Fiction Theatre Company, Heart & Dagger Productions, Vagabond Theatre Group, Sleeping Weazel, Maiden Phoenix Theatre Company, Porpentine Players, and Wax Wings Productions. 

The creative community has rallied against the theater’s closing, raising a unified voice against the decision of the owner’s decision not to renew the lease. The news attracted coverage in WBUR and the Globe, inspired Joyce Kulhawik to write an open letter to the owners, and sparked conversation on social media.

Our friends at StageSource wrote a thoughtful blogpost reflecting on what the loss of the Factory Theatre means for the theater community at-large:

But for the theater sector, and the art? The loss of The Factory Theatre is important. These small and fringe companies serve a number of roles. They operate on another level, and can take risks in their programming. They support new work, and playwrights. They provide access to artists at the beginning of their careers who are learning their crafts. They provide opportunities for mid-career actors interested in exploring directing or playwrighting. They provide theater artists with “day jobs” an opportunity to work avocationally in theater. They provide a home for a specific breed of theater artist. Not every theater artist dreams of “growing” beyond the small or fringe community. In fact, many of these artists thrive in this community. In the past ten years or so, the Boston theater community has come into its own, due in no small part to this part of our ecosystem.

Although the Factory Theatre's lease hasn't been renewed, it's not over! If you want to stay involved, follow Save the Factory Theatre and the ongoing conversations about the need for space among the groups in the theater community, including Boston Center for the Arts, StageSource, and Small Theatre Alliance of Boston.

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   Welcome New & Renewing Members!

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Thanks to all of our MASSCreative members for your engagement and advocacy on our campaigns this past year. Together, we’ve accomplished a lot over the past year.

As we shift our focus to the governor’s race, there’s a lot that we can accomplish by working even more closely together. We can build a powerful foundation that will shift the public conversation about the arts from nice to necessary. We can move our elected officials from supporters to champions of the arts.

For those who have not had the opportunity to support us, please consider joining our growing movement of leaders and supporters to help us build the resources and support we need to advocate for the creative community. You can support MASSCreative right now by becoming a member organization or an individual member.

We know that arts matter, not just to you, but to everyone in the Commonwealth. Our job is to make sure your stories are heard by the right people, at the right time, and in a broad-based, statewide chorus.

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   Learn how to engage in political advocacy: Advocacy 101 Webinar

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In partnership with the Barr Foundation, MASSCreative will host a webinar on:

Political Advocacy 101: Roles, Opportunities, and Legal Guidelines 
for the Arts and Cultural Community

Thursday, September 18, 10:00 AM

Join arts leaders in Massachusetts for an hour long webinar to better understand the rules governing lobbying and advocacy activities conducted by 501(c)(3) organizations during legislative campaigns and elections. Hear from legal experts and sector leaders on how and why they engaged their organizations, boards, staff, and audiences in campaign work.

More details to come. 

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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...