BOSTON, July 30 2018—Statement by MASSCreative Executive Director Matt Wilson on Legislature’s Override of Gov. Baker’s Veto of Mass Cultural Council Funding Increase:

“We applaud the Massachusetts Legislature―particularly House Speaker Robert DeLeo, Senate President Karen Spilka, House Ways and Means Chair Rep. Jeffrey Sanchez, Sens. Harriette L. Chandler and Adam Hinds, Reps. Cory Atkins and Stephen Kulik, and Cultural Caucus Chairs Sen. Julian Cyr and Rep. Mary Keefe and Cultural Caucus Vice Chair Rep. Sarah Peake―for overriding Governor Charlie Baker’s veto of $2 million from the Mass Cultural Council’s $16.1 million budget.

“This is the fourth year in a row that that lawmakers have overridden vetoes of Mass Cultural Council funding by Gov. Charlie Baker, and the fourth year that they have done so by an overwhelming margin. The Mass Cultural Council is a model for how public funds can be invested for an outsize impact. Our state and local economies are made up of hundreds of downtown districts that rely upon the contributions of nonprofit arts organizations, who generated more than $2.2 billion in activity in 2015 alone. These organizations rely on support from the Mass Cultural Council which, in turn, is used to leverage additional, private investment. Taken together, these investments infuse our cities and towns with creative activities and events that make our neighborhoods more connected, vibrant, and equitable. We are incredibly grateful to our Legislature for recognizing this and for continuing to invest in art, culture, and creativity.”

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BOSTON, July 26, 2018—MASSCreative Urges State Legislature To Override Gov. Baker’s Veto of Spending on Art, Culture, and Creativity

BOSTON, July 26, 2018— Today, Governor Charlie Baker vetoed $2 million in funding for the Mass Cultural Council, reducing the recommended funding for the organization from $16.1 million to $14.1 million. MASSCreative Executive Director Matt Wilson offered the following statement in response:

“We are deeply dismayed by Gov. Baker’s veto of funding for the Mass Cultural Council approved by lawmakers. This is the fourth year in a row that Gov. Baker has vetoed increased funding for the Mass Cultural Council. For the past three years, lawmakers have overridden his vetos by overwhelming margins. We are incredibly grateful to state lawmakers for their continued leadership and urge them to once again fully override Gov. Baker’s veto.

“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 our schools and communities. Our state and local economies are made up of hundreds of downtown districts that rely upon the contributions of nonprofit arts organizations, who generated more than $2.2 billion in activity in 2015 alone. These organizations rely on support from the Mass Cultural Council which, in turn, is used to leverage additional, private investment.”

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July 19, 2018 - MASSCreative launches Create the Vote 2018 in communities across the state

BOSTON, July 19, 2018—MASSCreative announces today that Create the Vote 2018 will launch next week with events in Boston, Easthampton, Lowell, New Bedford, North Adams, Somerville, and Worcester. Create the Vote is a non-partisan, grassroots campaign to engage voters and candidates for office in Massachusetts on the vital role that arts, culture and creative expression play in improving our schools, strengthening our economy, and building neighborhoods where people want to live, work, and play.

During Create the Vote campaigns, local advocates encourage candidates to develop cultural policies for their cities, towns, and school districts, and to lead by example by convening community leaders on the arts and by attending arts and cultural events. Create the Vote campaigns include public meetings with candidates, artists, and cultural leaders; candidate debates and forums; and publicizing candidates’ answers to a questionnaire about the arts.

“Although creativity builds more vibrant, equitable and connected communities, political and policy support for the arts isn’t a given,” said MASSCreative Executive Director Matt Wilson. “It comes from deliberate, strategic organizing and advocacy by the creative community, and cultivation of municipal and state leaders. We’re excited to work with community partners across the state to ensure that the benefits of our creative economy—and how to grow it—are part of the political discourse in this election season.”

MASSCreative has collaborated with community leaders on Create the Vote campaigns in communities across the Commonwealth since 2013, when its inaugural campaign secured a pledge from Boston mayoral candidate Marty Walsh to hire an arts commissioner, a promise he fulfilled after being elected. Create the Vote campaigns have also been instrumental in persuading municipal officials in Medford and Medfield to provide matching funds for their local cultural councils. In New Bedford, Create the Vote spearheaded the successful effort to establish a dedicated arts fund using revenue from the city’s lodging tax. The fund required the support of Mayor Jon Mitchell and the City Council, along with Gov. Charlie Baker’s approval of a home-rule petition.

Last year, MASSCreative partnered with local arts leaders, advocates, artists, creative entrepreneurs and other stakeholders in 13 cities and towns and three state senate districts. Participating municipalities included Barnstable, Boston, Brockton, Cambridge, Framingham, Franklin, Holyoke, Lowell, Lynn, Newton, Springfield, Somerville, and Worcester. In 2014, Create the Vote hosted the Commonwealth’s first-ever gubernatorial arts debate, drawing more than 500 people to Worcester’s Hanover Theatre to hear candidates explain their vision for our creative economy.

“Elections are when we hear candidates’ best ideas for meeting the challenges our communities are facing,” Wilson added. “Given the important role that art plays in educating our students, building strong neighborhoods, and generating economic activity, Create the Vote provides a valuable platform for candidates to share their ideas and policy positions on arts, culture and creativity.”

Follow the campaign on 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.

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BOSTON, July 18, 2018 - MASSCreative Urges Governor Baker to Approve Arts Funding Increase

Today, the Massachusetts Legislature approved the Conference Committee’s FY19 budget recommendations, which include a $2 million increase for the Mass Cultural Council to bring the state’s investment in arts, culture, and creativity to $16.1 million. MASSCreative Executive Director Matt Wilson offered the following statement in response:

“We’re incredibly thankful to House Speaker Robert DeLeo, Senate President Harriette L. Chandler, Ways and Means Chairs Sen. Karen Spilka and Rep. Jeffrey Sanchez, Reps. Cory Atkins and Stephen Kulik and Sen. Adam Hinds, and Cultural Caucus Chairs Sen. Julian Cyr and Rep. Mary Keefe, for their leadership advocating for an increased public investment in the Mass Cultural Council.

“We urge Gov. Charlie Baker to sign the budget with this increase included. Our state and local economies are made up of hundreds of downtown districts that 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.

“These economic and community benefits do not happen incidentally. They are the result of deliberate choices to invest in local cultural councils that provide free opportunities for arts and creative events and programs to all members of our 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 they happen when we invest in arts education and field trips to museums, theatrical productions and musical performances so that every student has access to art, culture, and creativity.”

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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.”

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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.”

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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.”

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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.”

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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.

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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.”

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