BOSTON, May 16, 2017— Statement by MASSCreative Executive Director Matt Wilson on Recommended Funding of the Massachusetts Cultural Council in Senate Ways & Means Committee Budget:

“We applaud the Senate Ways & Means Committee’s recommendation to fund the state’s investment in arts and culture in FY18 at $16.5 million. This would be an 18 percent increase over last year’s investment by the state in the Massachusetts Cultural Council. 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.

“In cities and towns around the state, through projects funded in part by the Massachusetts Cultural Council, art is helping to build more vibrant, equitable, and connected communities. It spurs economic activity and enhances education. Art is employed as a tool for improving health and developing resiliency among the young and old alike; people in recovery from addiction; and veterans and their families. But none of this happens without public funding, which ensures that programs and projects in poverty-stricken neighborhoods and rural communities are financed. Public funding also brings stature and attention to otherwise low-profile installations, exhibits, and performances and prevents decisions around what gets produced from being made almost exclusively by those at the top of the socio-economic ladder.

Additionally, arts and cultural businesses and organizations are a vital contributor to the economy in Massachusetts, supporting more than 128,000 jobs, which is more than those generated by transportation and utilities combined, and nearly half of those jobs come from the nonprofit sector supported by the MCC. Arts organizations and local cultural councils in every region of the state provide a diverse array of cultural activities that help our cities and towns to be more attractive to residents and visitors alike. We will be working closely with our champions in the Senate to ensure that the Senate’s recommended increase in funding is preserved as the budget goes through Conference Committee with the House.

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Over 600 Arts Leaders and Supporters Attend Arts Matter Advocacy Day!

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In the largest gathering of arts supporters in more than a decade, MASSCreative’s Arts Matter Advocacy Day at the Paramount Center and the MA State House on March 28 sent a clear message to our State Senators and Representatives that arts matter. The energy was infectious, and the advocacy, effective.  

Over 600 (we had expected 300) arts and cultural leaders and supporters and young people gathered for a day of networking with old friends and meeting new ones. We honed our advocacy and storytelling skills and traveled through the Boston Common in an ‘Arts Matter March’ to the State House to meet with legislators on arts and cultural issues.

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House Budget Cuts Arts Funding by 13%

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On April 26, the Massachusetts House passed its FY18 budget that will fund the Massachusetts Cultural Council at $12.1 million, a significant cut from the current year.

This appropriation represents an increase over the original House Ways and Means proposal of $10 million, yet the budget is still a 13% cut from last year’s appropriation to the MCC, which provides funding to the arts and cultural community to build a more vibrant, healthy, and equitable Massachusetts.

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MASSCreative Fights Trump’s Proposal to Eliminate the National Endowment for the Arts & National Endowment for the Humanities

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In his first budget proposal, President Trump called for the elimination of the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) and the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH). MASSCreative proudly stood with arts advocacy groups across the country, as well as the national arts advocacy group Americans for the Arts (AFTA), in opposition to any cuts in NEA and NEH funding. This broad-based coalition sent out a call to reverse the cuts and instead is asking Congress to increase funding to the NEA and NEH at $155 million each. 

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Youth Artists Gather for Action Retreat

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When students and families across the Commonwealth were relaxing during April vacation, over 50 teens and youth workers from nine Boston-area youth arts organizations came together for the 3rd Annual Youth Arts Action Retreat on April 21 at Zumix in East Boston.

Teens and youth workers from Zumix, Boch Center, Boston Youth Symphony Orchestra, Community Art Center, Hyde Square Task Force, Inquilinos Boricuas en Acción (IBA), Massachusetts Cultural Council, Mayor’s Youth Council of Boston, Sociedad Latina, and Urbanity Dance gathered to learn advocacy and storytelling skills and take action to build the youth arts community.

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Final ESSA State Plan includes Arts Education in the Mix!

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On March 28, after ten months of work, the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) presented the final version of its plan to guide the Commonwealth’s public education priorities over the next decade. The good news is that access and participation in quality arts education is included on the Department’s priority list.

Working with the Arts for All Coalition (Arts|Learning, Boston Public Schools, EdVestors, the Massachusetts Cultural Council, MassINC, Project LEARN, and Young Audiences of Massachusetts), MASSCreative strongly advocated for arts education to be part of the new state plan as required by the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). Responding to over a thousand e-mails from members of the arts and education communities, the plans adopted by DESE, call for the development of a “report card” that will track schools and districts on a number of measures, including for the first time, access and participation in arts education.

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MASSCreative and MA Association of Community Development Corporations Partner on Creative Placemaking Workshops


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MASSCreative is partnering with the Massachusetts Association of Community Development Corporations (MACDC) to engage in an intensive, one-year program to build knowledge and advance creative placemaking with artists and community developers 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.

As part of this work, MASSCreative and MACDC are hosting a series of workshops to bring together artists, designers, planners, architects, and community developers. Workshops are scheduled for Salem (May 16th), Worcester (June 27th), and Holyoke (June 29th).

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MASSCreative Has Opened Up its Search to Hire a Deputy Director

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Coming off the heels of its successful Arts Matter Advocacy Day in March, MASSCreative has opened up its search to hire a Deputy Director.

MASSCreative's Deputy Director will lead an initiative to diversify and increase the organization's revenue streams, develop a stronger narrative and communications strategy to decision makers and the public, and strengthen its organizational infrastructure, through board and staff development. The Deputy Director will work hand in hand with our small by mighty staff to continue MASSCreative’s growth to build its capacity to boldly advocate for the arts, cultural, and creative community. 

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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 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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BOSTON, April 26, 2017— Statement by MASSCreative Executive Director Matt Wilson on House Ways and Means Budget for Funding of the Massachusetts Cultural Council:

“We are deeply disappointed with the budget approved by the House, which calls for a 13 percent cut in funding for the Massachusetts Cultural Council. That would lower the state’s investment in arts and culture from $14.1 million to $12.1 million. 

“With the Trump Administration proposing the elimination of funding for the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities, now is not the time to step back from our commitment to the arts. We need local leaders to step up. The support of Governor Baker, who proposed a modest increase to the MCC budget, and that of the 116 representatives who supported an amendment to increase MCC funding to $16 million, shows that there is a bipartisan appetite for such leadership.

“Here in Massachusetts, arts and cultural businesses and organizations are a vital contributor to the economy, supporting more than 128,000 jobs, which is more than those generated by transportation and utilities combined, and nearly half of those jobs come from the nonprofit sector supported by the MCC. Arts organizations and local cultural councils in every region of the state also provide a 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. Finally, public investment in the arts ensures that art is accessible to all—young and old; rich and poor; urban and rural; and every race and ethnicity. 

“We look forward to working with arts leaders in the Massachusetts Senate as they build their state budget to increase the state’s investment in the MCC to $16 million.”

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