Arts Budget Threatened Again: Override Needed

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For the third time in three years, Governor Charlie Baker vetoed the Legislature’s Fiscal Year 2018 budget for the Mass Cultural Council and cut arts funding by 14%.

If lawmakers do not override this veto, the Mass Cultural Council’s budget will be cut to $12.1 million from $14 million.

With federal arts spending under attack from the Trump Administration, many states have recognized the need to strengthen their support for the creative sector. Thirty states have chosen to either increase their investment in the arts or maintain current spending levels even in the face of weak revenues. If this veto stands, Massachusetts would bear the third largest percentage cut to the arts in the nation, behind only Rhode Island and North Carolina. 

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MASSCreative to Highlight Arts and Culture During Mayoral and City Council Elections

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Over the next four months, MASSCreative will partner with local arts leaders and cultural institutions groups to run Create the Vote campaigns during their cities and town’s mayoral elections. The campaigns will highlight the important role that arts and culture play in making art accessible to local residents; building community; and strengthening local economies.

In November, more than 40 cities across the Commonwealth will hold Mayoral and City Council elections.  City-based non-partisan Create the Vote campaigns will meet with candidates and encourage them to develop dynamic cultural policies. Local cultural institutions will reach out to their networks to educate voters on the candidate’s positions and urge their networks to think about arts and culture in the voting booth. 

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MASSCreative and CDC’s Partner on Creative Placemaking Workshops

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How can artists best work with community developers to create and keep vibrant and livable neighborhoods and downtowns? 

To answer this, MASSCreative has partnered with the Massachusetts Association of Community Development Corporations (MACDC) in a one-year program to build knowledge and advance creative placemaking across the Commonwealth.

Creative placemaking is a strategy to shape, reshape or preserve communities and local economies by intentionally leveraging the power of arts, culture, and creativity. 

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Massachusetts Public Art Program Passed in Massachusetts Senate

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As part of the FY18 budget, the Massachusetts Senate passed the Massachusetts Public Art Program (MPAP) legislation that would create a fund to invest in public art and design on state property.

Modeled after the nation’s first public art program in Hawaii, it would designate 1% of the total state money allocated capital money for building and construction and designate it for public art projects. 

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MASSCreative Hires Deputy Director to Lead Organizational and Development Efforts

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Betsy Groban, a seasoned leader in public and private sector cultural organizations, has joined MASSCreative as its new Deputy Director.

Betsy will oversee fundraising efforts to support the organization’s long-term sustainability, build out its administrative infrastructure, and increase its communications and political advocacy capacity.

Previously, Betsy was SVP & Publisher of Books for Young Readers at Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, where she oversaw the publication of 250 books annually.  Under her leadership, the division achieved the strongest financial performance in its 150-year history. Prior to that, she was the Managing Director of WGBH Enterprises, where she spent nearly a decade developing new sources of revenue for the acclaimed public broadcasting producer.

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MASSCreative Opposes PILOT Payments on Cultural and other Non-Profit Institutions

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Testifying before a panel of Massachusetts legislators, MASSCreative Executive Director Matt Wilson spoke on behalf of the 400 arts and cultural institutional members of MASSCreative in opposition to proposed legislation regarding so-called “Payments in Lieu of Taxes,”, better known as PILOTs.

In a number of cities across the Commonwealth, officials send “tax” bills to nonprofit institutions, including cultural organizations, to pay the city fees in lieu of taxes because of their tax-exempt status. The legislation proposals at the State House would institutionalize various forms of PILOT payments across the Commonwealth.

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MASSCreative's 2016 Annual Report

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In the five years since its inception, MASSCreative has built the foundation to ensure that arts and culture are at the table when important policy and political decisions are made. When local and state budgets are being built, our work ensures that investments will be made in arts and culture. When accountability standards for education are being drawn up, our work ensures that access to arts education is included as a benchmark. When economic development and housing plans are being implemented, our work ensures that the needs of artists are considered and their contributions to the community are counted. 

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MASSCreative's Arts Advocacy Interns - Summer 2017

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Four talented and energetic interns are working with MASSCreative staff this summer. We are already looking for interns for the Fall Semester. Spread the word.

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Thank You Member Organizations!

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Shout out to the organizations that recently joined and renewed their memberships with MASSCreative to support arts advocacy in Massachusetts. Thanks for all you do to build healthy, vibrant, and equitable communities through arts and culture. Our membership now represents nearly 400 arts and cultural organizations, and individual artists and sector supporters. If you have not done so, please consider joining MASSCreative as a member organization or individual advocate

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Arts and Culture in the 2017 Mayoral Race: Comments from City Councilor Tito Jackson

With more than 40 mayoral and city council races happening across the Commonwealth this November, MASSCreative's Create the Vote 2017 Initiative is working with arts leaders to make sure that candidates and voters are talking about arts, culture and creativity in their local campaigns.

Kate Huffman, a member of MASSCreatives's Leadership Council, attended a forum with Boston Mayoral Candidate Tito Jackson on Tuesday June 19th.  Here is her report on what Jackson said about arts and culture:

City Councilor and Mayoral Candidate Tito Jackson sat down for a community conversation in Jamaica Plain on Tuesday night. The event was hosted by JP Progressives as part of the group’s endorsement process for the 2017 Mayoral race. Mayor Marty Walsh will make a similar appearance at the First Baptist Church in Jamaica Plain at 7:30 pm on Thursday night.

Councilor Jackson spoke with pride about his upbringing in the Boston Public School system and as the son of engaged, activist parents in the Grove Hall neighborhood. He outlined his background and experience in government, including his current role as the District 7 City Councilor, representing all of Roxbury and parts of the South End, Dorchester, and Fenway neighborhoods. Councilor Jackson also serves on numerous committees including as the Chairman of the Boston City Council’s Committee on Education and as Vice Chairman of the Committee on Government Operations.

Councilor Jackson addressed issues of continued inequality in the City of Boston, highlighting the disparities between different neighborhoods and along racial and economic divides. The unsustainability of building high-cost condos rather than affordable homes for families and the lack of available space for low-income individuals led to Councilor Jackson’s first mention of the arts. He addressed the lack of affordable places for artists to live and work and said that this is an issue that must be addressed to make Boston the best place to live for working artists. 

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