State Sen. Adam Hinds Meets with Create the Vote 2018

Members of MASSCreative’s Leadership Council and creative leaders in the Berkshires met with state Sen. Adam Hinds Aug. 15 as part of its Create the Vote 2018 initiative.

Create the Vote 2018 is a nonpartisan campaign to raise awareness of the ways that arts and creative expression improve schools, strengthen local business districts, and build vibrant neighborhoods in which people want to live, work, and play. Members of the campaign are meeting with state and municipal political candidates to discuss the candidates’ views on the arts and cultural community and the role that culture, creativity, and the arts should play in state and local government.

Hinds is seeking a second term in the Massachusetts Senate representing the Berkshire, Hampshire, Franklin & Hampden District—the largest geographic territory in the legislature and an area with a significant creative economy. Thomas Wickham, a Lee selectman, is challenging Hinds in the Democratic primary.

During the meeting, which was held at the Clark Art Institute in Williamstown, Hinds addressed questions from leaders of the local creative community, including Lucis Castaldo, IS183 Art School; Michele Daly, Mass College of Art’s Berkshire Cultural Resource Center; Adam Davis, Shakespeare and Company; Lisa Dorin, Williams College Museum of Art; Matthew Glassman, Double Edge Theatre; Jen Glockner, Office of Cultural Development for the City of Pittsfield; Sally and Fred Harris, Saint James Place, Donna Hassler, Chesterwood and Olivier Mesley, The Clark Art Institute.

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Asked about his interest in creating a county-wide cultural coalition/collaborative, Hinds said he believed that everyone at the table needed to be part of the ongoing conversation about how to create a community that was attractive to visitors and residents alike. He noted that infrastructure helps the creative sector thrive and emphasized the need to set up rail access to the region.

Hinds also acknowledged that he frequently hears from both the creative sector and residents about the dearth of affordable housing and workspace—an issue nearly every participant in our meeting raised, be it organizations that have had difficulty housing seasonal staff or artists that left the area because they cannot secure appropriate space in which to do their work. Hinds said he wants to work on a solution to this problem for his district.

Hinds co-chairs the legislature’s Joint Committee on Tourism, Arts and Cultural Development, a post he said he requested because of what the arts and culture sector has done for his district: as its third largest industry, it brings money to the area, improves its reputation and attracts visitors.

He expressed an interest in getting more money into arts education and creative sector workforce development as he sees how the issues dovetail in his district. Hinds, who lives in Pittsfield, said he has heard from students about the importance of arts education and given that the creative sector is the district’s third largest industry, arts education is a key to workforce development in the area.

Hinds touched on his membership in the Legislature’s Cultural Caucus, welcoming the opportunity it offers to build support for arts and culture throughout the State House. The caucus provides a helpful network of allies to call on when support is needed for important agenda items like funding for the Mass Cultural Council and the Cultural Facilities Fund, he said.

He discussed his legislative accomplishments on arts and cultural issues, including offering the amendment to re-authorize the Cultural Facilities Fund with an increased budget. While the budget expanding effort failed, Hinds said he understands how crucial the fund is for cultural organizations and will continue to work on it. With an eye toward securing more marketing dollars for his district, Hinds is working with Springfield State Rep. Michael J. Finn on a bill that would enable municipalities to designate a portion of local hotel taxes to marketing local tourism.

Hinds also wants to let his district’s arts and cultural sector speak for itself, by increasing investment in public art in the district. He pointed out that visitors to North Adams see murals adorning city buildings and realize, “Whoa, this place is open for art.” 

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Click here for Sen. Hinds’ answers to our Create the Vote 2018 candidate questionnaire.

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Jay Gonzalez – Candidate for Governor Talks Arts and Creativity

Members of the MASSCreative Leadership Council met with Democratic gubernatorial candidate Jay Gonzalez and his campaign manager on April 19 as part of its Create the Vote 2018 initiative.

Create the Vote 2018 is a nonpartisan campaign to raise awareness of the ways that arts and creative expression improve schools, strengthen local business districts, and build vibrant neighborhoods in which people want to live, work, and play. Members of the campaign are meeting with candidates for governor and other state and local legislative offices to talk about candidates’ views on the arts and cultural community and the role that culture, creativity, and the arts should play in state and local government. Create the Vote met with Democratic gubernatorial candidate Bob Massie January 26.

“As governor, I would want to set an example as to how we can engage the arts community,” Gonzalez said, noting that art played a vital role in his life when he was growing up.

“My father was an immigrant to the US from Spain,” Gonzalez recalled. “He taught himself how to play Spanish guitar and played it often when I was young. Small moments of art experiences made an impact on my life and I’ve seen how they can make an impact on future generations.”

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(Members of MASSCreative's Leadership council and Gubernatorial Candidate meet for a Create the Vote 2018 sit down meeting)

MASS Creative Program Advocate Emily Ruddock asked how the creative community could be included in discussion of smart growth policy both for its greater contributions to economic development overall, but also for supporting working artists and the community-based organizations that bring so much vitality to cities and towns around the state.

Gonzalez responded that the arts leaders should play more of a role throughout government, given that creativity and culture is a force multiplier in education, public health and safety, and economic development.

MASSCreative Leadership Council member Craig Coogan, who is the executive director of the Boston Gay Men’s Chorus (BGMC) talked about the need for dedicated revenue sources for the arts. Referring to the BGMC’s budget, he said, “Every year we start at zero, and it is frustrating to have to worry about funding over our art.”

Gonzalez, who managed the state budget as the Secretary of Administration and Finance for former Gov. Deval Patrick, expressed skepticism about dedicated funding. “To be honest … there is no way to have a locked down dedicated funding source.”

Untitled_design_(1).png(From left to right: Matt Wilson, MASSCreative; Corey Depina, Zumix; Aziza Robinson Goodnight, Arts Advocate and Organizer; Jay Gonzalez, Gubernatorial Candidate; Craig Coogan, Boston Gay Men's Chorus; Emily Ruddock, MASSCreative)

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BOSTON, July 30 2018—Statement by MASSCreative Executive Director Matt Wilson on Legislature’s Override of Gov. Baker’s Veto of Mass Cultural Council Funding Increase:

“We applaud the Massachusetts Legislature―particularly House Speaker Robert DeLeo, Senate President Karen Spilka, House Ways and Means Chair Rep. Jeffrey Sanchez, Sens. Harriette L. Chandler and Adam Hinds, Reps. Cory Atkins and Stephen Kulik, and Cultural Caucus Chairs Sen. Julian Cyr and Rep. Mary Keefe and Cultural Caucus Vice Chair Rep. Sarah Peake―for overriding Governor Charlie Baker’s veto of $2 million from the Mass Cultural Council’s $16.1 million budget.

“This is the fourth year in a row that that lawmakers have overridden vetoes of Mass Cultural Council funding by Gov. Charlie Baker, and the fourth year that they have done so by an overwhelming margin. The Mass Cultural Council is a model for how public funds can be invested for an outsize impact. Our state and local economies are made up of hundreds of downtown districts that rely upon the contributions of nonprofit arts organizations, who generated more than $2.2 billion in activity in 2015 alone. These organizations rely on support from the Mass Cultural Council which, in turn, is used to leverage additional, private investment. Taken together, these investments infuse our cities and towns with creative activities and events that make our neighborhoods more connected, vibrant, and equitable. We are incredibly grateful to our Legislature for recognizing this and for continuing to invest in art, culture, and creativity.”

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BOSTON, July 26, 2018—MASSCreative Urges State Legislature To Override Gov. Baker’s Veto of Spending on Art, Culture, and Creativity

BOSTON, July 26, 2018— Today, Governor Charlie Baker vetoed $2 million in funding for the Mass Cultural Council, reducing the recommended funding for the organization from $16.1 million to $14.1 million. MASSCreative Executive Director Matt Wilson offered the following statement in response:

“We are deeply dismayed by Gov. Baker’s veto of funding for the Mass Cultural Council approved by lawmakers. This is the fourth year in a row that Gov. Baker has vetoed increased funding for the Mass Cultural Council. For the past three years, lawmakers have overridden his vetos by overwhelming margins. We are incredibly grateful to state lawmakers for their continued leadership and urge them to once again fully override Gov. Baker’s veto.

“The local cultural councils and other nonprofit arts organizations funded by the Mass Cultural Council infuse our cities and towns with creative activities and events making our neighborhoods more connected, vibrant, and equitable. The benefits of these intentional investments in art and creativity can be seen in our schools and communities. Our state and local economies are made up of hundreds of downtown districts that rely upon the contributions of nonprofit arts organizations, who generated more than $2.2 billion in activity in 2015 alone. These organizations rely on support from the Mass Cultural Council which, in turn, is used to leverage additional, private investment.”

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Lawmakers Pass Mass Cultural Council Budget

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On Wednesday, July 18, Massachusetts lawmakers passed the FY2019 state budget, which includes a $16 million investment in the state’s arts, cultural, and creative community. This is a $2M increase in funding over last year's $14 million Mass Cultural Council budget and the first approved increase from the full Legislature in 3 years.

Your advocacy has shown that arts and culture help build vibrant and connected communities across the Commonwealth. This increase in state arts funding would not have been possible without the collective voice of the creative community and strong leadership in the State House.

The creative community recruited 104 representatives and 23 senators, a total of 127 out of 200 state legislators to sign on to amendments calling for an increase to the Mass Cultural Council budget.

The budget now heads to Governor Baker’s desk, where he has 10 days to sign off on the plan.

Send your state legislators a note of thanks.

 

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Create the Vote 2018

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This fall, Massachusetts voters from across the Commonwealth will decide who they want to represent them in Congress, the Governor's office, and in the State Legislature.

As creative politicos, we jump at the opportunity elections give us to engage candidates and voters around the role arts and creativity play in building vibrant, connected communities.

Earlier in July, MASSCreative issued an Arts and Culture Questionnaire to a set of candidates in key races across the Commonwealth, inviting them to share their vision for a more creative and equitable Massachusetts. As we receive responses from candidates, we’ll post them online for you to read and share with fellow voters.

This week, we’ll be officially launching our work around the 2018 elections with voters like you. Join us at one of our Create the Vote launch parties to kick off election season and learn about how you can elevate arts and culture in the conversation between candidates and voters.

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Investment in our Cultural Spaces

Investment in our Cultural Spaces

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From our world-class facilities to our neighborhood arts centers and community playhouses, our cultural venues are often the anchor of a neighborhood, making our cities and towns exceptional places to live, work, play, and visit. To make sure these venues continue to make possible the creation, practice, and presentation of arts and culture, MASSCreative is working to reauthorize and increase the Massachusetts Cultural Facilities Fund.


Created by the Massachusetts Legislature in 2007, the Cultural Facilities Fund has helped restore many of our Commonwealth’s most treasured historical and cultural landmarks, and has helped fund visionary capital projects that revitalize our communities. This year’s Economic Development Bond Bill provides an opportunity to reauthorize the Cultural Facilities Fund for another five years and increase the Fund to $75 million.To build support and momentum for the reauthorization, MASSCreative circulated a letter of support, garnering signatures from 100 mayors, city managers, chambers of commerce, and cultural institutions. This letter was delivered to leadership in the MA Legislature, where movement on the Economic Development Bond Bill is expected this week.

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Meet MASSCreative's Summer 2018 Interns!

MASSCreative is pleased to introduce our four student interns. Take a look to see how these young leaders are enriching the cultural community (and our offices) here at MASSCreative this summer.

 

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Charlie Driver, Campaign Organizing

Charlie is a rising senior at Tufts University, studying History and Political Science. His professional experience includes time in the arts as a management assistant at the award-winning Off-Broadway Mint Theater Company, and time in government, interning in New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio’s Correspondence Unit. Charlie has a creative background in the theatre; he has been acting since elementary school, and is a member of Tufts’ drama club, Pen, Paint, and Pretzels. This summer, he is helping to organize the Create the Vote campaign by finding opportunities for MASSCreative to engage with voters around Massachusetts. He is also assisting with the planning of statewide Campaign Kickoff parties and the organization’s advocacy work to renew the Cultural Facilities Fund. He is looking forward to the opportunity to support the creative community in the Commonwealth and learn about campaign and non-profit management along the way.

 

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Emily Kibbe, Campaign Organizing

Originally from the San Francisco Bay Area, Emily is a rising junior at Tufts University, studying political science and gender studies. An arts-advocacy and politics enthusiast, Emily is passionate about connecting with people through many arts forms — especially when she's singing with her all-gendered a cappella group, Tufts sQ!. Beyond cheering on Spain during the World Cup, Emily is excited to spend this summer interning at MASSCreative as a junior organizing fellow. Working on our 2018 Create the Vote campaign, she can't wait to get on the ground and engage with communities across the state, as we make connections between arts, culture, and elections

 

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Emily Mo, Data Analysis

Emily is a rising senior at Boston University, majoring in Statistics. She is using data analysis to help MASSCreative better understand the relationship between its supporters' political and financial engagement. In her free time, she likes to produce music and learn about how data can be used for social good.

 

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Cameron O’Neill, Web Design and Planning

Cameron is a rising sophomore at Lafayette College, pursuing a degree in Neuroscience & Economics. With interests in computer programming and community activism, Cameron has merged the two together by joining the MASSCreative team based in Boston, working on website design and planning. So far Cameron has worked with several languages including Python, Javascript, HTML, and CSS in order to update current donation platforms and website resources. In addition to programming, Cameron also spends his time conducting research for new web resources and media directions for MASSCreative.

 

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Community Podcast Lab to Broadcast Stories from the Field

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Adrianne Mathiowetz Photography

In partnership with Futuro Media, MASSCreative is helping to start the Community Podcast Lab, an opportunity for people of color to craft and tell their stories for and about their communities. The project will serve storytellers from Mattapan, Roxbury, Jamaica Plain, and Dorchester.

The Lab will work with MASSCreative members and others to provide in-depth training in audio storytelling. Participants are encouraged to apply for the fall program here. At a kickoff event on May 15 at the PRX Podcast Garage in Allston, more than 50 attendees learned about the project and heard a live taping of Futuro’s podcast In the Thick.

“We want those who are not traditionally the voice of public media to own, tell, and spread their stories,” said Erika Dilday, Futuro’s Executive Director.  “We are excited to partner with MASSCreative to work with creative thinkers and doers in the area.”

The Futuro Media Group is an independent nonprofit organization committed to producing ethical journalism from a POC perspective and representing the new American mainstream. Based in Harlem and founded in 2010 by award-winning journalist Maria Hinojosa, its multimedia journalism explores and gives a critical voice to the diversity of the American experience. It is dedicated to telling stories from perspectives often overlooked.

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Take a look at MASSCreative's Annual Report

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MASSCreative’s 2017 Annual Report reviews the work of MASSCreative and its supporters over the past year to build a more vibrant, healthy, and connected Massachusetts.

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