BOSTON, May 25, 2018— Statement by MASSCreative Executive Director Matt Wilson on Senate Budget for Funding of the Massachusetts Cultural Council:

“We applaud state senators who have approved an increase in funding for the Mass Cultural Council from $14 million to $16 million. We’re thankful to Senate President Harriette L. Chandler, Senate Ways & Means Committee Chair Karen Spilka, and the 22 cosponsors on Senator Adam Hinds’ Mass Cultural Council Amendment.

“The Senate budget must now be reconciled with the House budget, which recommended funding the Mass Cultural Council at $14.5 million. As the two legislative bodies work on a final number, we urge them to keep in mind the short and long-term benefits that creativity, culture, and art bring to the Commonwealth.

“Our state and local economies made up of hundreds of downtown districts, would be diminished without the contributions of nonprofit arts organizations, who generated more than $2.2 billion in activity in 2015 alone. Our community life is also much richer when the arts are a part of it. Creativity and culture are the building blocks for vibrant, equitable, and connected neighborhoods, and arts education benefits learners of all ages and across fields of study.

“None of these benefits occur incidentally. They come only by deliberately choosing to invest in arts education and field trips to museums, theatrical productions and musical performances. They happen when we fund local cultural councils that provide free opportunities for arts and cultural events and programs to all members of their communities. They happen when we nurture the development of the Commonwealth’s vast and diverse community of artists, who are driving the reinvigoration of the state’s gateway cities including Lynn, New Bedford, and Springfield, and often through projects funded by Mass Cultural Council.”

###

Read more
Add your reaction Share

BOSTON, May 10, 2018 - Statement by MASSCreative Executive Director Matt Wilson on Senate Ways & Means Committee Recommended Funding of the Mass Cultural Council in State Budget

“The Senate Ways and Means Committee’s recommendation to fund the Mass Cultural Council at $14 million would see the agency funded as the same amount as the previous three years, and is $500,000 less than the amount recommended by the House. This simply isn’t enough to support a cultural sector that plays such a central role in enriching our communities. 

“The local cultural councils and other nonprofit arts organizations funded by the Mass Cultural Council infuse our cities and towns with creative activities and events making our neighborhoods more connected, vibrant, and equitable. The benefits of these intentional investments in art and creativity can be seen in local economies, schools, and public health and safety.

“Arts education improves the learning of students of all ages and across varying fields of study. Addiction experts have long-recognized the value of art-based therapy in improving the health and resiliency of people recovering from addiction. And the nonprofit arts sector generated more than $2.2 billion in economic activity in 2015.

“The Mass Cultural Council ensures that these benefits are available to everyone regardless of where they live or how much money they make. Grants from the Mass Cultural Council also bring stature, attention, and additional private-sector investments to otherwise low-profile installations, exhibits, and performances which means that decisions about what kinds of creative endeavors get produced are not solely based on already-existing financial resources.

“The positive impact of creativity on our communities is undeniable and cannot be taken for granted. That is why we will continue to support a $3 million increase in the Mass Cultural Council, bringing its total funding to $17 million. We urge state senators to support State Senator Adam Hinds’ Mass Cultural Council amendment, calling for this $3 million increase.

“This will ensure that the Mass Cultural Council can carry out its work of promoting excellence, inclusion, education and diversity in the arts, humanities and sciences across the state.”

###

Read more
Add your reaction Share

BOSTON, April 26, 2018— Statement by MASSCreative Executive Director Matt Wilson on House Budget for Funding of the Mass Cultural Council:

BOSTON, April 26, 2018— Statement by MASSCreative Executive Director Matt Wilson on House Budget for Funding of the Mass Cultural Council:

“We applaud House lawmakers who have approved an increase in funding for the Mass Cultural Council from $14 million to $14.5 million. We’re thankful to Speaker Robert DeLeo and Chairman Jeffrey Sánchez, the 103 cosponsors on state Rep. Cory Atkins’ Mass Cultural Council Amendment and Rep. Stephen Kulik, an arts champion who cited the increase in funding for the Mass Cultural Council in his floor speech about the final House budget.

“The Massachusetts economy would be diminished without the contributions of nonprofit arts organizations, who generated more than $2.2 billion in activity in 2015 alone. Our communities would be much poorer as well. Creativity and culture are the building blocks for vibrant, equitable and connected neighborhoods. Arts education benefits learners of all ages and across fields of study. Art-based therapy improves health and resiliency in people recovering from addiction or suffering from memory impairment and military veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

“None of these benefits occur incidentally. They come only by deliberately choosing to invest in arts education and field trips to museums, theatrical productions and musical performances. They happen when we fund local cultural councils that provide free opportunities for arts and cultural events and programs to all members of their communities. They happen when we nurture the development of the Commonwealth’s vast and diverse community of artists, who are driving the reinvigoration of the state’s gateway cities including Lynn, New Bedford and Springfield, and often through projects funded by Mass Cultural Council.

“We now look forward to working with arts leaders in the Massachusetts Senate as they build their budget. Given the many benefits that art, culture, and creativity imbue across industries and communities, we’ll continue to advocate for a total appropriation for the Mass Cultural Council of $17 million. This will ensure that it can carry out its work of promoting excellence, inclusion, education and diversity in the arts, humanities and sciences in our Commonwealth.”

###

Read more
Add your reaction Share

BOSTON, April 11, 2018 - Statement by MASSCreative Executive Director Matt Wilson on House Ways & Means Committee Recommended Funding of the Mass Cultural Council in State Budget

BOSTON, April 11, 2018— Statement by MASSCreative Executive Director Matt Wilson on House Ways & Means Committee Recommended Funding of the Mass Cultural Council in State Budget:

“The House Ways and Means Committee proposed funding the Mass Cultural Council at just under $14 million, matching last year’s funding level. It’s a good start, but it’s not enough. Given that art, culture, and creativity is an economic driver and community building block in municipalities across the state, we will continue to support a $3 million increased investment in the Mass Cultural Council.

“Nonprofit arts organizations contribute significantly to the economy, generating more than $2.2 billion in economic activity in 2015 alone. Art, culture, and creativity also contribute in other ways by building more vibrant, equitable and connected communities. Arts education benefits learners of all ages and across varying fields of study. Art-based therapy improves health and resiliency in people recovering from addiction or suffering from memory impairment and military veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

“None of these benefits occur incidentally. They come only by deliberately choosing to invest in arts education and field trips to museums, theatrical productions and musical performances. They happen when we fund local cultural councils that provide free opportunities for arts and cultural events and programs to all members of their communities. They happen when we nurture the development of the Commonwealth’s vast and diverse community of artists, who are driving the reinvigoration of the state’s gateway cities including Lynn, New Bedford and Springfield, and often through projects funded by Mass Cultural Council.

“We urge lawmakers to show their support for all of the benefits accrued by cultural and creative endeavors in our communities by signing State Representative Cory Atkins’ Mass Cultural Council amendment, calling for a $3 million increased investment in the arts for a total appropriation of $17 million. This will ensure that the Mass Cultural Council can carry out its work of promoting excellence, inclusion, education and diversity in the arts, humanities and sciences in our Commonwealth. All of this is what makes our cities and towns more attractive to residents and visitors alike and assists in building; more vibrant, connected and equitable communities.”

###

Read more
Add your reaction Share

BOSTON, February 14, 2018—Statement in response to President Trump’s FY2019 Budget Proposal to Eliminate Funding for NEA and NEH

This week, President Donald Trump released his budget for Fiscal Year 2019, which proposes the complete elimination of the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) and the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH). The budget was released just one week after the NEA announced its 2018 grants, with more than $1 million going to 40 arts and cultural nonprofits in Massachusetts. It is the second attempt by the Trump Administration to eliminate both agencies; last year’s budget from the Trump Administration also proposed zero funding for the NEA and NEH, but Congress rejected the proposal.

“For 50 years, funding from the NEA and NEH has supported small, medium, and large cultural institutions across the Commonwealth. They’ve helped develop and showcase new and innovative art forms and to bring vibrancy and creativity to our neighborhoods,” said MASSCreative Executive Director Matt Wilson. “Eliminating the these national cultural organizations would destroy successful efforts that have long benefitted the public good. ”

The NEA budget is approximately $150 million and represents less than one-half of one percent of the entire federal budget. But NEA funding is unique among many public programs in that it generates additional investment from local and state governments and private entities. Two of the NEA’s four grant-making programs—Art Works and Challenge America—require matching funds. The other two—Our Town and Research: Art Works—offer matching grants to investments made by others, including research institutions and local and state governments. As a result, for every dollar granted by the NEA, an additional $9 are contributed from other sources. This out-sized impact means that NEA-funded projects contribute significantly to the $730 billion arts economy, which supports 4.8 million jobs and represents 4.2 percent of the annual Gross Domestic Product.

“It’s always tempting to make our case for investing in the arts based purely on the economic impact,” Wilson added. “But this is about so much more. The Challenge America program of the NEA exists solely to ensure that everyone has access to the arts, not just people of means or those who live in urban areas.”

Recent NEA-funded projects and organizations in Massachusetts have touched every region of the state, and range from nurturing an interest in writing among Roxbury-area youth by funding a collection of stories by youth participants of 826 Boston to installing lighting and public art along a highway underpass to build a safe walking route between the Springdale neighborhood of Holyoke and the city’s downtown.

“We really need to ask ourselves whether we see creativity as something worth investing in as a public good, or if it should be left to the private, monied sector,” Wilson said. “This fight over funding isn’t about money. It’s about who we are.”

MASSCreative is circulating a petition among its members and supporters to ask Massachusetts members of Congress to support continued funding for the NEA and NEH. It will share the petition March 12, during Americans for the Arts Annual Arts Advocacy Day.

###

Read more
Add your reaction Share

BOSTON, January 24, 2018—Statement by MASSCreative Executive Director Matt Wilson on Gov. Baker’s Recommended Funding of the Massachusetts Cultural Council in State Budget

“Governor Baker’s proposed funding of the Massachusetts Cultural Council (Mass Cultural Council) at $14 million is a good starting point in the Fiscal Year 2019 budget process. Given that the arts sector is a significant economic driver and community building block in municipalities across the state, we will continue to support a $3 million increased investment in the Mass Cultural Council.

Recent reports by Americans for the Arts and the New England Foundation for the Arts show that in 2015, the nonprofit arts industry generated more than $2.2 billion in economic activity in Massachusetts, while cultural institutions overall generated more than $159 million in tax revenue.

“Aside from economic benefits, arts and culture have been shown to help build more vibrant, equitable and connected communities, reducing crime and improving quality of life for residents. They also bring educational benefits to learners of all ages and varying fields of study, and have been used to improve health and resiliency in people recovering from addiction or suffering from memory impairment and military veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

“None of these benefits occur incidentally. We reap them when we deliberately choose to invest in arts education and field trips to museums, theatrical productions and musical performances. They happen when we fund local cultural councils that provide free opportunities for arts and cultural events and programs to all members of their communities. They happen when we nurture the development of the Commonwealth’s vast and diverse community of artists, who are driving the reinvigoration of the state’s gateway cities including Lynn, New Bedford and Springfield, and often through projects funded by Mass Cultural Council.

“The arts community is seeking a modest $3 million budget increase to ensure Mass Cultural Council can better carry out its work of promoting excellence, inclusion, education and diversity in the arts, humanities and sciences in our Commonwealth. In the coming months, we will work closely with our legislative allies and a broad, diverse constituency of Massachusetts residents to ensure that Mass Cultural Council receives appropriate funding.”

###

Read more
Add your reaction Share

MASSCreative Opposes Congressional Tax Bills

BOSTON, December 13, 2017—Both the U.S. Senate and U.S House have recently passed separate but similar bills that make sweeping changes to the U.S. tax code. Some will have significant impact on the nonprofit sector, and its arts and cultural community members. Both bills are now in conference committee where Congressional leaders are reconciling differences between the bills to create a final one that will require another vote by the House and Senate. If that bill is approved by both houses of Congress, it will be sent to President Donald Trump to be signed into law. MASSCreative Executive Director released the following statement in response:

“We stand with Americans For the Arts and the Massachusetts Nonprofit Network in opposition to these bills. Both the House and Senate versions will harm the Commonwealth’s arts and cultural community and the people they serve. 

“Both bills would keep the deduction for charitable contributions that have long benefitted nonprofit arts and cultural organizations by encouraging people to make tax-deductible donations to their favorite nonprofits. But significant increases to the standard deduction would likely result in far fewer people itemizing their deductions to take advantage of the charitable tax deduction.

The Tax Policy Center of the Urban Institute and Brookings Institution estimates that fewer than 13 million people would itemize their deductions as compared with approximately 46 million who do so now. That could result in a loss of up to $20 billion annually to nonprofit organizations across the country.

“Additionally, many artists and creative entrepreneurs count on deductions to offset their personal business expenses. By eliminating many of the items that could previously be deducted from their taxes, artists could see an increase in the amount of taxes they will owe under a new plan.

“Last, the House bill weakens the Johnson Amendment, which provides nonpartisan protections to charitable, religious and philanthropic organizations. By prohibiting nonprofits from endorsing political candidates or making financial contributions to them, nonprofits, such as arts organizations, are better able to collaborate in creative ways and work together to solve community problems. 

“We strongly encourage Congressman Neal and his fellow conferees to protect the Johnson Amendment and keep the nonprofit sector out of electoral politics.” 

###

Read more
1 reaction Share

Boston Mayoral Candidates Submit Create the Vote Questionnaires

BOSTON, October 25, 2017—MASSCreative announced today Boston Mayor Martin J. Walsh and mayoral challenger and District 7 Boston City Councilor Tito Jackson have each submitted Create the Vote questionnaires with answers to questions about public investment in the arts; leveraging creative communities to build vibrant neighborhoods; and supporting working artists and performance groups with space to live, work, and rehearse.

“Boston’s municipal elections are a time for candidates and voters to discuss the strengths and challenges our city faces. It’s also the time where we, as citizens, can openly debate our vision for the future of Boston and think about what is possible,” said MASSCreative Executive Director Matt Wilson. “A new report by Americans for the Arts has found that Boston’s arts and cultural organizations and audiences generate more than $1.35 billion in economic activity each year. They support 6,129 full-time jobs and contribute more than $7 million in local revenues. The arts sector deserves the same level of attention from our public officials that is given to healthcare, technology, and private industry.”

Create the Vote 2017 is a nonpartisan public education campaign organized by MASSCreative and run in partnership with local arts groups and cultural councils. The campaign raises awareness in mayoral and city council races of the ways that arts and creative expression improve schools, strengthen local business districts, and build vibrant neighborhoods in which people want to live, work, and play. In addition to Boston, robust Create the Vote campaigns are underway in Barnstable, Brockton, Cambridge, Framingham, Holyoke, Lowell, Lynn, Newton, Springfield, Somerville, and Worcester. Create the Vote Newton hosted an arts and culture forum with the two mayoral candidates and nearly 100 attendees. In Cambridge, 15 City Council candidates are expected Thursday night, October 26th for the city’s first-ever forum focusing on arts, culture, and creativity. 

Create the Vote was launched in 2013 during the Boston mayoral campaign. During that race, Create the Vote succeeded in securing a pledge from then-candidate Walsh to create a cabinet level position for the arts, a promise he fulfilled after his election with the hiring of Julie Burros as Chief of Arts and Culture. Create the Vote was a significant presence during 2016 legislative races on the Cape and Islands and in the Berkshires, and in 2015 mayoral campaigns in Fitchburg, Gloucester, Medford, New Bedford, and Worcester. During the 2014 gubernatorial race, Create the Vote hosted six candidates at the first-ever Gubernatorial Forum on Arts, Culture, and Creativity; met with candidates; and publicized the answers to candidates’ Create the Vote questionnaires.

In addition to establishing a cabinet-level arts commissioner in the city of Boston, other municipal action on the arts that have taken place in cities and towns where Create the Vote was a significant presence in local elections include the establishment Recent examples include New Bedford, which now has a dedicated funding stream created by a 1 percent hotel tax and Medford and Medfield, which now invest in the arts through dedicated line items in their budgets.  

Completed questionnaires are available online at Mass-creative.org/ctv2017.

Follow the campaign on the MASSCreative Website Twitter with the hashtag #CreateTheVote. You can also “like” us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter @MASSCreative, and visit http://www.mass-creative.org/ctv.

###

Read more
Add your reaction Share

MASSCreative statement on new report about economic contributions of the creative economy

BOSTON, September 25, 2017—Today, the Americans for the Arts, New England Foundation for the Arts, and Barr Foundation held a press conference calling attention to data showing the importance of the creative economy to the local region. MASSCreative Executive Director Matt Wilson offered the following comments in response:

“This data confirms that arts matter in Massachusetts. The sector employs as many people as the construction industry. It spurs more than $2 billion of economic activity in Massachusetts alone. It is long past the time for our public officials to show the arts and creative sector the same levels of support given to healthcare, technology, and private industry.

“That means making public investments in creative projects, such as designated cultural districts that improve downtown economies, and local music festivals that bring neighbors together and build closer, more connected communities. It also means keeping the arts sector in mind when making important policy decisions. Our economy thrives when creative workers are trained and supported. Our downtowns and neighborhoods are healthier and more vibrant when public art and design are integrated into development and cultural institutions are well-resourced. Our students do better across all academic disciplines when schools offer sequential arts education from K-12.

“This fall, MASSCreative is running non-partisan Create the Vote campaigns in 20 cities across the state to raise awareness of these issues among the voting public and candidates for mayor and city council. The Commonwealth needs champions of the arts on city councils and mayor’s offices, because communities with vibrant arts scenes are places in which people want to live, work, and play.”

###

Read more
Add your reaction Share

Create the Vote campaigns in 40 municipal elections raising awareness of arts and creative expression to cities and towns

BOSTON, September 20, 2017—MASSCreative announced today that nearly 40 municipalities are taking part in Create the Vote initiatives this fall. Organized by MASSCreative, a statewide arts advocacy group, in partnership with local arts groups and cultural councils, Create the Vote campaigns raise awareness of the ways that arts and creative expression improve schools, strengthen local business districts, and build vibrant neighborhoods in which people want to live, work, and play.

During the Create the Vote campaign, MASSCreative and local cultural councils will share with voters the answers candidates give to a questionnaire about the arts. In some districts, they will also meet with candidates for municipal office and host debates.

“Creative expression builds powerful connections among communities of people and strengthens educational offerings and local economies,” said Matt Wilson, executive director of MASSCreative. “Local initiatives, such as library reading programs, outdoor concerts, public mural projects, and cultural districts that encourage residents and visitors alike to patronize local businesses are among the most powerful examples. These programs and activities are successful and their impact scales dramatically when they enjoy the support of municipal leaders. That’s why it’s so important to talk about these issues with candidates.”

A recent analysis by the National League of Cities (NLC), shows that mayors across the country view arts and culture as an important economic driver that is worthy of investment. NLC’s 2017 State of the Cities report analyzes and catalogues the top issues articulated by U.S. mayors in their annual State of the City speeches. Predictably, economic development topped the list of the mayors’ priorities. Breaking down that issue, NLC noted that arts and culture was one of the top five economic subsets—along with job creation, business attraction, downtown development and employment—that mayors identified as important or of interest in the growth of their cities.

Arts and cultural organizations and local cultural councils have sent questionnaires to candidates for mayor and city council in Boston and Lynn; questionnaires have been sent to city council candidates in Cambridge, Springfield, and Barnstable; and questionnaires have been sent to candidates for state senate in the special election to be held in the Bristol Norfolk district.

Completed questionnaires are available online at Mass-creative.org/ctv2017.

The Create the Vote Cambridge coalition will hold a debate on the arts on October 12 at Central Square Theater.

The Newton Cultural Alliance will hold a debate on the arts on October 17 at the Boston Ballet School in Newton between mayoral candidates Scott F. Lennon and Ruthanne Schwartz Fuller, who have also filled out an arts questionnaire.

Other participating cities and towns will likely include Agawam, Amesbury, Attleboro, Beverly, Brockton, Chicopee, Easthampton, Everett, Fall River, Framingham, Franklin, Gardner, Gloucester, Haverhill, Holyoke, Lawrence, Leominster, Lowell, Marlborough, Medford, Methuen, New Bedford, Newburyport, Northampton, Peabody, Salem, Taunton, , Westfield, West Springfield, Woburn, and Worcester.

Create the Vote was a significant presence during 2016 legislative races on the Cape and Islands and in the Berkshires, and in 2015 mayoral campaigns in Fitchburg, Gloucester, Medford, New Bedford, and Worcester. During the 2014 gubernatorial race, Create the Vote hosted six candidates at the first-ever Gubernatorial Forum on Arts, Culture, and Creativity; met with candidates; and publicized the answers to candidates’ Create the Vote questionnaires. In the 2013 Boston mayoral race, Create the Vote succeeded in securing a pledge from candidate Marty Walsh to create a cabinet level position for the arts, a promise he fulfilled after his election with the hiring of Julie Burros as Chief of Arts and Culture.

Follow the campaign on the MASSCreative Website Twitter with the hashtag #CreateTheVote. You can also “like” us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter @MASSCreative, and visit http://www.mass-creative.org/ctv2017.

###

Read more
Add your reaction Share

1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9  10  Next →

Community Impact

The Drama Studio is one of a handful of youth theatres in the United States that offers quality, range, and depth in its acting training programs. For Springfield-area youth, the Studio's conservatory program offers an unusual opportunity for training that prepares its graduates (all of whom are college bound) to...