Arts Matter Advocacy Day To Be Held March 28; 350 Arts and Cultural Leaders and Supporters Expected to March to State House to Meet with Legislators

March 21, 2017―MASSCreative announces that it will hold its second Arts Matter Advocacy Day on Tuesday, March 28. Artists, cultural leaders, and advocates will gather at the Paramount Center in downtown Boston from 10-12:30am and hear from speakers including Lee Pelton, President of Emerson College and state Rep. Mary Keefe (D-Worcester), a member of the Joint Committee on Tourism, Arts, and Cultural Development. David Howse, Executive Director of ArtsEmerson will emcee the event. Other speakers will include: Sarah Stackhouse, Chair of Theater at Boston Conservatory at Berklee; Barbara Grossman, faculty member in the Drama and Dance Department at Tufts University and Vice-chair of the Massachusetts Cultural Council (MCC); Deborah Greel, Public Art Planner, City of Salem; and Myran Parker-Brass, Executive Director for the Arts, Boston Public Schools.

At 12:45 pm, the group will hold an “Arts Matter March” to the State House. Arts advocates will meet with lawmakers at the State House to talk about the importance of arts and culture to local communities. More than 100 organizations and artists have signed up as co-sponsors of Arts Matter Advocacy Day.

“At a time when the Culture Wars have been revived in Washington, and the Trump Administration has proposed eliminating funding for the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities, we need to look to our local leadership to show support for the arts in Massachusetts,” said Matt Wilson, executive director of MASSCreative. “Across the state, from Williamstown to Provincetown, community-based arts organizations are improving the quality of life in all 351 of our cities and towns by creating events and places where people want to gather and connect. They are also driving local economies, and creating educational opportunities, particularly in under-resourced communities. Democracy starts at home, and it’s important that policymakers and legislators understand the value of investing in the arts and cultural sector, and our creative communities.”

Arts Matter Advocacy Day supports MASSCreative’s campaigns to increase the MCC budget, establish a public art program at state owned properties, and increase student participation in arts education. On January 25, Gov. Baker released his FY2018 budget with a recommendation to fund the state’s investment in arts and culture at $14.3 million. In the coming weeks, the House and Senate will release their respective budgets. Because of the positive impact that arts and culture has on the quality of life in every community across the Commonwealth, as the budget process proceeds to the Legislature, we will urge lawmakers to support a $16 million allocation for the arts in Massachusetts.

Follow #AMAD17 on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram to join the conversation.

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 Join Arts and Culture Leaders and Supporters:  Arts Matter Advocacy Day - March 28

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Join 300 other arts and culture leaders, supporters and partners for MASSCreative’s Arts Matter Advocacy Day.

As we gear up for another budget and legislative season here in the Commonwealth, we’re reminded that democracy starts at home. Come for a day of issue briefings, networking with your colleagues from across the state, and meeting with your legislator about the importance of arts and culture in your community.

Channel your arts advocacy energy into our second Arts Matter Advocacy Day on March 28 to show our state political leaders that arts still matter in Massachusetts.

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State Proposal puts Arts Education in Curriculum Standards

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After six months of research and outreach to Massachusetts residents, on January 23rd , the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) proposed draft regulations that include access and participation in arts education as an indicator in its school accountability plan. DESE’s commitment to including arts education in the Commonwealth’s plan would put arts education back into the core learning of all Massachusetts students.

“This proposal puts arts education squarely in the core curriculum for schools and students. By measuring participation of students in arts education from grades K-12 as criteria for school success, state leaders have recognized the impact that that arts have on college readiness, school climate, and teaching our kids valuable 21st century skills,” said Matt Wilson, MASSCreative’s Executive Director.

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State House support grows for Massachusetts Public Art Program

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Just two weeks after submitting legislation, 38 Representatives in the Massachusetts House have signed on as co-sponsors to the Massachusetts Public Art Program bill, which will bring public art to newly constructed state buildings.

Emerging from a task force consisting of artists, planners, community developers, and legislators, An Act To Establish a Massachusetts Percent for Arts Program, is sponsored by Representatives Chris Walsh and Cory Atkins in the House and Senator Eric Lesser in the Senate.

Modeled on the nation’s oldest state public art program based in Hawaii, the Massachusetts Public Art Program, or MPAP, would invest an estimated $2 million dollars a year towards the creation and preservation of public art on Commonwealth-owned properties. By guaranteeing a percent of new capital expenditures being spent on projects, a guaranteed stream of revenue will be available for public art. These art projects will help to invigorate and vitalize the communities in which they are located as well as promote engagement with the Commonwealth’s civic infrastructure.

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 Baker proposes modest 2% Increase to MCC

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On, January 25, Governor Baker released his FY18 state budget proposal, recommending a 2 percent bump to the Commonwealth’s investment in the arts and cultural community. This proposal increases the Massachusetts Cultural Council’s budget to $14.3 million. Although modest, this is the first time in nearly a decade that a Massachusetts Governor’s budget has proposed an increase in funding for the Massachusetts Cultural Council.

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 Municipal Breakthrough on Arts Funding in New Bedford

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New Bedford became the first municipality in Massachusetts to create a dedicated funding stream for its city’s cultural and tourism sector, passing a local home-rule petition that commits 50% of its hotel tax revenue to the arts.

On January 13th, Governor Baker signed the legislation approving the fund, which will generate an estimated $100,000 a year to the arts community.

A number of towns and cities invest in their local arts scene and cultural institutions through yearly approved allocations from their municipality’s general fund. New Bedford’s ordinance creates a permanent and stable funding stream on which the arts community can depend on year after year.

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 Thank you, Members!

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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 383 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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  MASSCreative's New Digital Organizer and Operations Manager

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This September, MASSCreative hired Merissa Magdael-Lauron to direct its social media outreach and education. As Digital Organizer and Operations Manager, Merissa develops and implements digital strategy and curated social media content to support MASSCreative’s statewide grassroots advocacy campaigns. In addition to running social media campaigns, Merissa manages office operations, and supports the organization’s campaign organizing efforts. 

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MASSCreative praises draft regulations for new state education standards that include arts ed

BOSTON, February 8, 2017—MASSCreative today praised the state’s Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) for including arts education in the Commonwealth’s draft plan for new accountability standards. The standards were written in response to a new federal law, the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), which replaces No Child Left Behind (NCLB), the federal law that has guided the nation’s educational system for the last two decades.

Passed in late 2015 in a rare show of bipartisanship, ESSA includes instruction in the arts in the federal definition of a “well-rounded education.” In preparation for implementation of ESSA for the 2017-18 academic year, each state must revise its accountability plan for school districts to reflect this new definition. In addition to test scores, accountability standards must include other indicators of school quality, such as measures of participation in arts instruction.

“This proposal puts arts education squarely in the core curriculum for schools and students. By measuring participation of students in arts education from grades K-12 as criteria for school success, state leaders have recognized the impact that that arts have on college readiness, school climate, and teaching our kids valuable 21st century skills. This marks a bold step forward for educating the ‘whole child’ after 20 years of an ever-narrowing curriculum,” said Matt Wilson, MASSCreative’s Executive Director.

The draft plan was written after DESE engaged in six months of research and outreach to stakeholders throughout the state. It identifies lack of arts education participation by six percent of elementary and middle school students and 50 percent of high school students, as one of the state’s current educational challenges. It includes “the arts” as a core subject area, along with civics and foreign languages. It recommends “access to the arts” as an accountability measure for all students, and “improvement in access to the arts” as an accountability measure for high needs students.

The public will have 30 days to comment on the draft plan released today, and the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education is expected to vote on the proposal at its March 28 meeting. The plan can be found at http://www.mass.gov/edu/docs/ese/accountability/annual-reports/essa-state-plan-draft.docx and comments can be e-mailed to ESSA@doe.mass.edu.

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BOSTON, January 25, 2017— Statement by MASSCreative Executive Director Matt Wilson on Gov. Baker’s Recommended Funding of the Massachusetts Cultural Council in State Budget:

“We applaud Governor Charlie Baker’s recommendation to fund the state’s investment in arts and culture in FY18 at $14.3 million. This is a 2 percent increase over last year’s investment in the Massachusetts Cultural Council by the state. At a time when the Culture Wars have been revived in Washington, and there is talk of dismantling the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities, we welcome and appreciate this leadership in showing support for the arts in Massachusetts.

“Because of the positive impact that arts and culture has on the quality of life in every community across the Commonwealth, as the budget process proceeds to the Legislature, we will urge lawmakers to support a $2 million increased investment in the arts. This will ensure the ability of arts institutions and local cultural councils in every region of the state to provide the diverse array of cultural activities that help our cities and towns to be more attractive to residents and visitors alike; promotes educational programming that helps students of all abilities to excel across all academic disciplines; and builds more vibrant, connected and equitable communities.”

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