BOSTON, April 13, 2016— Statement by MASSCreative Executive Director Matt Wilson on House Ways and Means Recommended Budget for Funding of Massachusetts Cultural Council:

“Over the last four years, lawmakers have recognized the tremendous value of arts and culture in the Commonwealth by providing steady increased investment in the Massachusetts Cultural Council, which makes grants to arts institutions and local cultural councils across the state. Today’s recommendation by the House Ways and Means Committee to fund the MCC at $10 million is a deeply disappointing—and abrupt—u-turn from that community investment.

“If enacted, this recommendation would represent a 28 percent cut from last year’s budget of $14.16 million. The creative community is a critical partner in building a vibrant, healthy, and equitable Massachusetts. It makes vital contributions to the economic development of neighborhoods and downtowns around the state, particularly in Gateway Cities. Nonprofit arts and cultural organizations in Massachusetts support more than 45,000 jobs, spend $2.1 billion annually, and generate another $2.5 billion of economic activity. Additionally, every dollar spent by an arts and cultural organization generates $2.30 in sales for nearby businesses. The funding recommendation by the House Ways and Means Committee would put these gains at risk. 

“We urge state representatives to co-sponsor Rep. Cory Atkins’ amendment to increase state investment in arts and culture to $17 million, which is necessary to ensure that arts institutions and local cultural councils across the Commonwealth can provide the diverse array of cultural activities that make the downtowns of our cities 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, healthy, and equitable communities.”

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Founded in 2012, MASSCreative works with creative leaders and entrepreneurs, working artists, arts educators, and arts and cultural supporters to empower creative organizations and the public with a powerful voice to advocate for the resources and support necessary to build vibrant and connected communities. MASSCreative has more than 300 arts and cultural member organizations from around the state. 

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