MASSCreative to Partner with Local Groups in Five Cities to Run Campaigns to Highlight Arts and Culture during Municipal Mayoral and City Council Elections

Campaigns will run in Fitchburg, Gloucester, Medford, New Bedford, and Worcester

BOSTON, October 13, 2015—MASSCreative announced today that it has partnered with local art groups in Fitchburg, Gloucester, Medford, New Bedford, and Worcester to run Create the Vote campaigns during the mayoral and city council elections. The campaigns will highlight the importance and role that arts and culture play in their respective cities.

“Elections are a great time to discuss the strengths of our cities, the challenges they face, and the vision for our communities,” said Matt Wilson, executive director of MASSCreative. “The role that arts and culture plays in our local economies, in student education, and in strengthening our communities is an important part of the political discourse. We look forward to hearing from the candidates on their vision for the role that arts and culture can play in their communities.”

Create the Vote Gloucester hosted a forum on arts and culture October 5 between mayoral candidates Sefatia Romeo Theken and Paul McGeary, that drew more than 125 people. Organized by the Gloucester Stage Company, Rocky Neck Art Colony, Gloucester’s Committee for the Arts, Arts Gloucester, and seARTS, and moderated by MASSCreative Director Matt Wilson, the event featured a robust hour-long discussion of arts and culture. 

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Legislature Overrides Gov. Baker's Arts Veto

BOSTON, July 29, 2015—Today, the Massachusetts House and Senate voted to override Governor Charlie Baker’s veto and restore $2.3 million in funding in the Fiscal Year 2016 budget for the Massachusetts Cultural Council. MASSCreative Executive Director Matt Wilson issued the following statement in response: 

“The arts and cultural community is thrilled by the bi-partisan support from the House and Senate to restore investment in the Commonwealth’s arts, cultural and creative sector. This vote shows a deep faith in the work of the creative community to help build a vibrant, healthy and equitable Commonwealth.

This unanimous vote in the Senate and a 153-2 vote in the House brings the Massachusetts Cultural Council budget back to $14.16 million – the amount originally passed by the Legislature. The override marks a 20% bump over last year and the largest increase in state investment in the past nine years. The restored money will provide increases to most MCC arts and cultural grantees and local cultural councils, provide new grants for the Commonwealth’s 29 cultural districts and provide funding for festivals.

We were extremely disappointed in Gov. Baker’s short-sighted decision to veto the Legislature’s increased investment in the Massachusetts Cultural Council. The vote today keeps up the momentum the arts and culture community has built over the past three years to increase the state’s investment in the arts by 49 percent from $9.5 million to $14.16 million. Yet, even as the House and Senate approve this generous increase, the state is still investing nearly half of what it allocated for the arts, cultural and creative community more than 25 years ago. We remain grateful to state lawmakers and legislative leaders who recognized and understood the vital need to increase investment and who voted for restoration of this money.”

 

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Majority of Legislature sign on Cultural Caucus Letter urging Leadership to override Gov. Baker’s veto of arts funding

BOSTON, July 28, 2015—Today, 106 Massachusetts legislators sent a letter to House and Senate leadership requesting support for an override of Governor Charlie Baker’s veto to restore $2.3 million in funding in the Fiscal Year 2016 budget for the Massachusetts Cultural Council. MASSCreative Executive Director Matt Wilson issued the following statement in response: 

“The arts and cultural community is encouraged by the broad show of support from the Legislature to restore investment in the Commonwealth’s arts and cultural sector. This strong bipartisan coalition of a majority of the Legislature is consistent with the broad base of support of 103 representatives and 20 senators who supported amendments to increase funding of the Massachusetts Cultural Council during budget deliberations in April and May.

MASSCreative encourages the leadership in the House and Senate to pass this override so the arts, cultural and creative community can do their work to build more vibrant, healthy and equitable communities across the Commonwealth. The restored money would provide increases to all MCC arts and cultural grantees and local cultural councils, provide new grants for the Commonwealth’s 29 cultural districts and provide funding for festivals.

We were extremely disappointed in Gov. Baker’s short-sighted decision to veto the Legislature’s increased investment in the Massachusetts Cultural Council. We have built momentum over the past three years by increasing the state’s investment in the arts by 26 percent from $9.5 million to $12 million. Even with the legislature’s generous increase, however, the state is still investing nearly half of what it allocated for the arts, cultural and creative community more than 25 years ago. We remain grateful to state lawmakers and legislative leaders who recognized and understood the vital need to increase investment and who are calling for restoration of this money.”

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MASSCreative Urges State Lawmakers to Overturn Gov. Baker’s Veto of Arts Funding

BOSTON, July 17, 2015—Today, Gov. Baker vetoed a $2 million increase in funding for the Massachusetts Cultural Council that was approved by state lawmakers. MASSCreative Executive Director Matt Wilson issued the following statement in response: 

“We are extremely disappointed in Gov. Baker’s short-sighted decision to veto the legislature’s increased investment in the Massachusetts Cultural Council. This funding is used to expand access to the arts for everyone in the Commonwealth, foster economic growth, educate our kids, and build vibrancy in our communities. But those who benefit most live in some of our most challenged and under-resourced communities.

“We have built momentum over the past three years by increasing the state’s investment in the arts by 49 percent from $9.5 million to $14.16 million. Even with the legislature’s generous increase, however, the state is still investing nearly half of what it allocated for the arts, cultural, and creative community more than 25 years ago. We remain grateful to state lawmakers and legislative leaders who recognized and understood the vital need to increase investment in the creative community by $2 million and we look forward to working with them to overturn Gov. Baker’s veto.”

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State budget increases funding for the Massachusetts Cultural Council by 18 percent

BOSTON, July 8, 2015— Statement by MASSCreative Executive Director Matt Wilson on final FY2016 state budget, which includes a $14.16 million investment in the arts, cultural and creative community. The $14.16 million allocation for the Massachusetts Cultural Council (MCC) represents an 18 percent increase in funding for the MCC over last year’s allocation of $12 million. MASSCreative Executive Director Matt Wilson issued the following statement:

“We are grateful to state lawmakers and legislative leaders for this investment in arts and culture in the Commonwealth. Thanks to the advocacy work of the creative community, the Commonwealth’s investment in arts and culture has increased by 49 percent over the past three years from $9.5 million to $14.16 million. Even with this generous increase, however, the state is still investing nearly half of what it allocated for the arts, cultural, and creative community more than 25 years ago.

“We have a lot of ground to make up, but this increase is yet another step forward by state leaders to expand access to arts education that teach our students creativity and innovation; increase economic activity, particularly in the downtowns of our Gateway Cities; and develop more vibrant and connected communities that make our neighborhoods places where we want to play, work, visit and raise our kids.

“We congratulate the House and Senate leadership and all of the state legislators who supported budget amendments to increase funding. Credit also goes to the leaders and supporters of the creative community who effectively told their collective stories to the Massachusetts legislature. 

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MASSCreative Praises Cultural Facilities Fund as Example of Program that Works; Urges Increased Investment

June 21, 2015—MASSCreative today praised Gov. Charlie Baker’s announcement that he is allocating $10 million in his administration’s first state capital plan to the Cultural Facilities Fund for the repair and rebuilding of the Commonwealth’s aging cultural venues. The investment comes after an advocacy campaign led by MASSCreative featuring civil and cultural leaders from across the state urging the governor to invest in the state’s cultural facilities.

See videos from cultural leaders and their support of the Cultural Facilities Fund as well as a list of mayors and chambers of commerce that have all signed on to a letter to Gov. Charlie Baker to keep state investment strong.

“Public investment should yield returns to the Commonwealth. Under the best of circumstances those returns should improve the Commonwealth’s health and wealth, and the Cultural Facilities Fund does just that,” said Matt Wilson, executive director of MASSCreative. “These state funds are leveraged to generate additional private and municipal investment in building projects that sustain the aging infrastructure of the state’s cultural facilities which range from theaters, to concert halls, to dance studios, and museums. These are the places that people in our communities come to meet and gather. They are centers that make possible the creation, practice, and presentation of art. They are often the anchor of a neighborhood’s development or redevelopment.” 

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MASSCreative Urges Attendance at Tonight's Boston Creates Town Hall

   

MASSCreative Urges Attendance at Tonight’s Boston Creates Town Hall
Group also praises Boston Mayor Marty Walsh for making arts in Boston a priority for his administration

June 2, 2015― Statement by MASSCreative Executive Director Matt Wilson on Boston Creates Town Meeting:

 

“Tonight, the city of Boston will hold an historic town hall meeting on how the City should support and invest in the creative community. It will be the first in a series of meetings held throughout the summer to gather ideas and priorities from Boston residents. It’s important for those who care about arts, culture and creativity in Boston to attend and offer their ideas for building a vibrant, more connected Boston.

“It’s also important to recognize Boston Mayor Marty Walsh for his leadership. During the 2013 campaign for mayor, Walsh pledged to lead an ‘Arts Renaissance’ in the city. Since his election, he has appointed Julie Burros as the city’s Chief of Arts and Culture, and his administration has supported installation of Janet Echelman’s transformative aerial rope sculpture above the Greenway, and organized tonight’s Cultural Planning Town Hall. This is the kind of leadership the arts community has long awaited in the city of Boston, and to ensure that this work continues, we urge artists and advocates to attend tonight’s town hall meeting.”

NOTE: The Boston Creates Cultural Planning Town Hall will take place from 6-9pm at English High School in Jamaica Plain. MASSCreative will be tweeting from the meeting with the hashtag #BostonCreates

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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. More than 300 arts and cultural organizations from around the state are members of MASSCreative. 

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MASSCreative calls on Senate to invest in the arts

   

BOSTON, May 12, 2015— Statement by MASSCreative Executive Director Matt Wilson on Senate Ways and Means Recommended Budget for Funding of Massachusetts Cultural Council:

 

“The Senate Ways and Means recommendation to fund the state’s investment in arts and culture in FY16 at $12 million would essentially fund the Massachusetts Cultural Council at last year’s level. We see this as a good starting point, but not the end point. This funding level does not provide the resources that the community needs to maintain the impact that arts and culture have made in education and economic development, much less to continue building a more vibrant and connected Massachusetts.

“Over the past 25 years, the Commonwealth’s investment in the creative community has declined nearly 60 percent. MASSCreative is calling on the senate to support Senate Chair of the Tourism, Arts, and Cultural Development Committee Eric Lesser’s amendment to increase the Massachusetts Cultural Council’s budget to $15 million.

“Put simply, the creative community in Massachusetts makes vital contributions to the economic development of Gateway Cities; the educational achievement of all students; and efforts to build stronger communities. Core to the success of this cultural impact is public investment in arts and culture through the Massachusetts Cultural Council. We urge state senators to co-sponsor Sen. Lesser’s amendment to increase state investment in arts and culture to $15 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, connected communities.”

“We have long known that students involved in arts programming are more likely to graduate high school and attend college, and that arts education fosters development of critical thinking and results in higher achievement outcomes. We also know that 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.

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Majority of House members, with bipartisan representation, support budget amendment seeking increase in MCC funding

BOSTON, April 17, 2015—MASSCreative announced today that a majority of state representatives have signed on as co-sponsors of an amendment filed by Rep. Cory Atkins (D-Concord), chairwoman of the Committee on Tourism, Arts and Cultural Development. The amendment would increase funding for the Massachusetts Cultural Council (MCC) to $15 million in the final House budget. A total of 87 state representatives (79 Democrats and nine Republicans, including House Minority Leader Brad Jones of North Reading), signed amendment #774.

On April 15, the House Ways and Means Committee released a proposed budget for the House of Representatives that would cut the state’s investment in arts and culture by 16 percent from the $12 million allocated in FY2015 to $10 million for FY2016.

“This recommendation by the House Ways and Means Committee doesn’t provide the resources that the community needs to maintain the impact that arts and culture have made in education and economic development, much less to continue building a more vibrant and connected Massachusetts,” said MASSCreative Executive Director Matt Wilson. “The creative community in Massachusetts makes vital contributions to the economic development of Gateway Cities; the educational achievement of all students; and efforts to build stronger communities. Core to the success of this cultural impact is public investment in arts and culture through the Massachusetts Cultural Council. We are grateful for the leadership shown by Rep. Atkins and for all of the state reps who have signed on to her amendment.”

In the last 25 years, the Commonwealth’s investment in the creative community has declined nearly 60 percent. Twenty-five years ago, the state invested $27 million in the creative community; 10 years ago that investment was $19 million. Today, it stands at $12 million and the House Ways and Means proposal would cut it to $10 million.

MASSCreative and cultural leaders around the state have been meeting with lawmakers in their district to talk about the impact that art has on local economic development, education, and communities. MASSCreative will continue this work, and will continue to encourage its members statewide to urge their Representatives to support this amendment.

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Statement by MASSCreative Executive Director Matt Wilson on House Ways and Means Recommended Budget for Funding of Massachusetts Cultural Council

“The House Ways and Means recommendation to fund the state’s investment in arts and culture in FY16 at $10 million doesn’t provide the resources that the community needs to maintain the impact that arts and culture have made in education and economic development, much less to continue building a more vibrant and connected Massachusetts. Over the past 25 years, the Commonwealth’s investment in the creative community has declined nearly 60 percent. This recommendation represents a 16 percent cut from the $12 million budgeted for the Massachusetts Cultural Council in FY2015. 

“We have long known that students involved in arts programming are more likely to graduate high school and attend college, and that arts education fosters development of critical thinking and results in higher achievement outcomes. We also know that 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.

“Put simply, the creative community in Massachusetts makes vital contributions to the economic development of Gateway Cities; the educational achievement of all students; and efforts to build stronger communities. Core to the success of this cultural impact is public investment in arts and culture through the Massachusetts Cultural Council. But the budget proposed today by the House Ways and Means Committee will point the state in the wrong direction. We urge legislators to co-sponsor Rep. Cory Atkins’ amendment to increase state investment in arts and culture to $15 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, connected communities.” 

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