“Lawmakers recognize the tremendous value of arts and culture in the Commonwealth. That’s why they have approved steady increases in funding for the Massachusetts Cultural Council over the last five years. Today’s recommendation by the House Ways and Means Committee to fund the MCC, which makes grants to arts institutions and local cultural councils across the state, at $10 million is a deeply disappointing step back from that community investment, and represents a 28 percent cut from last year’s funding for the MCC.
“Adding to our disappointment is that this recommendation comes just a few short weeks after 600 artists, cultural leaders, and arts supporters turned out for Arts Matter Advocacy Day at the State House to rally for public investment in the arts. Across the state, from Williamstown to Provincetown, community-based arts organizations are improving the quality of life in all 351 of our cities and towns by creating events and places where people want to gather and connect. They are also driving local economies, and creating educational opportunities, particularly in under-resourced communities.
“At a time when the Culture Wars have been revived in Washington, and the Trump Administration has proposed eliminating funding for the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities, we need to look to our local leadership to show support for the arts in Massachusetts. Governor Baker, in proposing a modest increase to the MCC budget, showed that there’s a bipartisan place for such leadership. Democracy starts at home, and it’s important that policymakers and legislators understand the value of investing in the arts and cultural sector, and our creative communities.
“We urge lawmakers to support state Representative and House Chair of the Joint Committee on Tourism, Arts and Cultural Development Cory Atkins’s amendment #6 calling for a $2 million increased investment in the arts for a total appropriation of $16 million. This will ensure the ability of arts institutions and local cultural councils in every region of the state to provide the 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.”
Founded in 2012, MASSCreative works to build a more vibrant, healthy, and equitable Massachusetts. MASSCreative works with artists, leaders, supporters, and partners of the arts, cultural, and creative community to advocate for the resources and support necessary for the sector to thrive. Nearly 400 arts and cultural organizations and working artists from across the Commonwealth are members of MASSCreative.