Governor’s budget announced, sparks statewide conversation about arts funding
Last month, Gov. Charlie Baker announced his state budget proposal, recommending $14.16M for Massachusetts Cultural Council's FY17 budget, funding arts & culture at the same level as last year. While this a great starting point, it's not the end point.
We look forward to working with the Massachusetts House and Senate on their respective budgets this coming April and May to increase funding for MCC to $17M. MASSCreative will be working with its Leadership Council to set up regional meetings with legislators to provide the opportunity for arts leaders and supporters to tell their stories to their political leaders.
Before the MA House’s budget comes out, MASSCreative will also host a Twitter chat on the subject of public funding for arts and culture. Coming later in March, stay tuned for our announcement revealing which arts leaders will serve as panelists to help fuel the Twitter conversation.
Preserving the Cultural Landscape of Boston and MA:
Let’s Keep the #HuntingtonOnHuntington
As you may know, Boston University announced last October it was selling its Huntington Avenue properties, which may leave the Huntington Theatre Company without a mainstage home after 33 years on the Avenue of the Arts.
In January, after The Boston Globe reported that an investment group emerged as a front-runner to buy the Company’s Huntington Avenue theater, the arts and cultural community came together to launch the #HuntingtonOnHuntington Campaign.
Launched in coalition with ArtsBoston, StageSource, and the Fenway Alliance, the campaign made a big splash.
In the first ten days of the campaign, 2,900 people added their names to the #HuntingtonOnHuntingon Statement of Support, both The Boston Globe and WBUR’s The Artery published articles about the collaborative campaign, and #HuntingtonOnHuntington trended on Twitter in Boston.
Photo by Richard Howard, Courtesy of the Boston Foundation
The Boston Foundation arts funding report fuels need for advocacy
Massachusetts’ arts, cultural, and creative sector is integral to the health and vitality of the Massachusetts economy, the quality of life in its communities, and the future of its young people. Artists, nonprofit cultural organizations, and a diverse, creative workforce represent an under-tapped energy source to help the Commonwealth address and resolve its most challenging problems.
Yet, the way Boston, the major cultural center in the Commonwealth, funds the arts does not reflect the impact the sector has on its communities. On a financial level, Boston has not embraced the arts as a “public good” worthy of adequate public investment.
In a report released by The Boston Foundation on January 19th, How Boston and Other American Cities Support and Sustain the Arts, compares how Boston matches up in its support for the arts and culture community with ten other major American cities. The results are telling. Whereas, Boston ranks near the top in earned revenue, individual ticket sales, and individual giving, it ranks dead last in governmental, foundation and corporate support. Following the report’s release, The Boston Globe published an editorial calling on state and city to be leaders on arts funding.
New Year, New Leadership
At its January meeting, the MASSCreative Board of Directors elected Sara Stackhouse as the organization’s fourth chair of its Board. Stackhouse, principal at the consulting firm Stackhouse Creative LLC, brings more than 20 years of experience in arts and cultural production, administration, and education to MASSCreative as the organization seeks to develop long-term sustainability and grow its advocacy capacity.
“Since 2012, MASSCreative has made great gains advocating for arts and culture as a path to economic prosperity and better quality of life in the Commonwealth. As a result, state investment in our cultural community has increased by 66 percent,” said Executive Director Matt Wilson. “Sara Stackhouse is a creative and strategic leader in the state’s arts community, and will provide the strong guidance and counsel we need to build on this momentum.”
Celebrating our impact; Arts Advocacy at the State House
On February 10, Local Cultural Councils from across the Commonwealth gathered at the State House for Massachusetts Cultural Council’s LCC Statewide Assembly Day. Over the course of the day, MCC celebrated the great work of the Local Cultural Councils and shone a spotlight on local groups that brought exceptional programming and services to their community. And of course, the crowd was treated to artistic performances demonstrating the quality and diversity of arts and culture present in Massachusetts.
But it wasn’t just about celebrating the creative community’s great work; it was also about taking action to ensure this important work could continue to thrive in Massachusetts. That’s where advocacy comes in.
Photo: JAN UNDERWOOD
Artists partner with Boston city departments to make meaningful change
Musician and composer Shaw Pong Liu, video artist Georgie Friedman, and visual and performing artist L’Merchie Frazier all have revolutionary new ideas about using art to transform city services.
The three artists were selected this month from an impressive field of candidates with plans to work with city departments in Boston. Check out their projects which include: quilting to help recover from abuse, nature videos to invigorate public space, and music to take on race and gun violence.
Check out the Globe piece on Boston’s new Artist-in-residency program.
Welcome, New Members!
Shout out to the organizations that just joined MASSCreative to support arts advocacy in Massachusetts. Thanks for all you do to build healthy, vibrant, and equitable communities through arts and culture.
Check out our full list of MASSCreative member organizations, and consider joining if you or your organization hasn't already.
Become a MASSCreative member.
MASSCreative is Hiring!
MASSCreative is Massachusetts' advocacy voice for the arts, cultural, and creative community. We are growing and are hiring a Political Director to run its lobbying work at the State House, expand its advocacy platform and program, and build partnerships with other key advocacy sectors. See the job description here.