Dear Governor Baker,
Massachusetts museums, playhouses, music halls, and arts centers are the places that people in our communities come to meet and gather. They are the places that make possible the creation, practice, and presentation of art. They are often the anchor of a neighborhood’s development or redevelopment.
Yet every year, our cultural facilities continue to age. With hundreds of thousands of visitors each year, our venues are subject to wear and tear and ever-changing building codes, and require vigilance to make sure they are accessible to all.
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. For FY 2014, then-Governor Patrick tripled his allocation to the Cultural Facilities Fund from $5 to $15 million, increasing state investment in cultural venues for the first time since 2007. For a second year, Gov. Patrick kept up his allocation of $15 million to the Cultural Facilities Fund for FY 2015.
For your FY 2016 capital spending plan, we urge you to continue state investment in the Commonwealth’s Cultural Facilities Fund at $15 million. By keeping the allocation at $15 million, we can strengthen our vibrant, thriving economies and build more connected communities across the Commonwealth.
• Investment builds the state’s creative community. Since its start in 2007, the Cultural Facilities Fund has awarded grants to 350 cultural organizations across the state to build, repair, and expand their facilities. These grants benefit organizations of every size and every region of Massachusetts, support individual artists and arts education, and revitalize our downtowns.
• Investment creates jobs. Since 2007, Cultural Facilities Fund projects provided 19,030 building jobs to architects, engineers, contractors, and construction workers. 1,842 new permanent jobs are projected in Massachusetts as a result of Cultural Facilities Fund projects.
• Investment increases tourism. More than 18 million people visit organizations receiving these grants annually, 35% of which traveled more than 50 miles. Nationally, for every visitor to our cultural facilities, an additional $24.60 goes to the local economy, including restaurants and local businesses.
Thank you for your consideration.
Mayor David Maher, City of Cambridge
Mayor Karen Cadieux, City of Easthampton
Mayor Lisa Wong, City of Fitchburg
Mayor Alex Morse, City of Holyoke
Mayor Rodney Elliott, City of Lowell
Mayor Donna Holaday, City of Newburyport
Mayor David Narkewicz, City of Northampton
Mayor Daniel Bianchi, City of Pittsfield
Mayor Joseph Petty and City Manager Edward Augustus, City of Worcester
Chambers of Commerce:
Jonathan Butler, Berkshire Chamber of Commerce
Kathleen Anderson, Greater Holyoke Chamber of Commerce
Peter Forman, South Shore Chamber of Commerce