Boston Mayor Marty Walsh has officially begun his search for an Arts Commissioner. This is great news for the creative community and for everyone involved in Create the Vote Boston campaign during which the mayor was urged to create a cabinet-level position for an arts and cultural leader. Boston Magazine shares the story, quoting Mayor Walsh as saying at the announcement: “We’re making culture a priority.”
Arts and cultural leaders are hopeful about this new Arts Commissioner. Jason Turgeon of FIGMENT Boston explains that this is a significant step for Boston’s creative community:
“[It’s] super encouraging, and he is doing it pretty quickly. I thought he’d hire a fire commissioner and school superintendent first. I thought we’d take a back seat in all of this, so I’m encouraged by this,” he said. “It’s certainly different than [former mayor Tom Menino’s] administration. It’s night and day, really. It seems like Walsh’s position will be much more connected to the arts community.”
See the full job description and posting on Hire Culture.
In a new report from the National Assembly of State Arts Agencies (NASAA), the creative community received some valuable insight on arts funding around the nation. In our recent blog, we shared some of the key findings:
Today, Massachusetts ranks ninth in legislative appropriation to the arts with $1.66 spent per capita. Minnesota leads the nation with $6.31 spent per capita in arts funding followed by Hawaii ($3.68) and Delaware ($3.57).
The state ranks 27th in terms of the percentage of the total budget that is allocated for the arts ($11.1 million out of $35.8 billion, or .031 percent). Compare that with Minnesota, which invests .18 percent of its state budget in the arts.
Boston Mayor Marty Walsh announced an exciting new initiative wherein he invites the city’s youth to “Lead the Change.” The program provides $1 million to the young applicant—aged 12 to 25—with the best proposal of how to spend the money to revitalize the community.
“Young people in Boston have a pulse on what is vibrant, exciting, and important to the future of our city,” Mayor Walsh said. “Youth Lead the Change provides them a way to have a voice in their local government and make important funding decisions.”
The Chronicle of Higher Education shared some new insight about arts education: it fuels the economy. The findings from a study by National Endowment for the Arts and the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis highlight the direct way in which arts education (and arts educators) impact the economy:
- The total economic output (gross revenue and expenses) for arts education in 2011, the most recent year for which data are available, was $104-billion. Arts education thus claims the second largest share of output for all U.S. arts and cultural commodities, after the creative services within advertising.
- In 2011, arts education added $7.6-billion to the nation’s GDP.
- In that year alone, arts education as an industry employed 17,900 workers whose salaries and wages totaled $5.9-billion.
- For every dollar consumers spend on arts education, an additional 56 cents is generated elsewhere in the U.S. economy.
The New Bedford Symphony Orchestra is doing its part to enhance education in its community. In our blog, we take a look at the orchestra’s innovative new program, “the Agents of the S.D.A.” At a recent concert at the Zeiterion Performing Arts Center, students had their lessons from the classroom reinforced through examples in classical music:
"Alaina Baptiste, a third grade teacher at the Rodman School in New Bedford, said her 27 students 'absolutely loved' the program and were excited to attend the Zeiterion performance.
'They found symmetry in their reading, writing and math,' she said, adding that the students benefited from having Wolkowicz visit her classroom to reinforce the concept through various fun-filled activities."
The best way to appreciate this program is by watching it in action.