Rep. Cory Atkins, Sen. Eric Lesser, and Boston Chief of Arts and Culture Julie Burros address more than 200 artists at first-ever Arts Matter Advocacy Day

March 25, 2015― More than 200 artists and cultural leaders gathered at Citi Wang Theatre in downtown Boston Wed., March 25, from 10-11:30am for Arts Matter Advocacy Day. Joyce Kulhawik, President of the Boston Theater Critics Association and JoycesChoices.com, emceed the event, which included remarks from state Rep. Cory Atkins, state Sen. Eric Lesser, and Boston Chief of Arts and Culture Julie Burros. After the event, attendees marched to the State House and met with lawmakers to request an increase in state investment in the arts.

Arts Matter Advocacy Day participants included Sue Dahling Sullivan, Chief Strategic Officer of Citi Performing Arts Center; Gary Dunning, Executive Director of Celebrity Series; Catherine Peterson, Executive Director of ArtsBoston; Julie Hennrikus, Executive Director of StageSource; Sara Stackhouse, Executive Producer of Actors Shakespeare Project; Lauren Wolk, Associate Director of the Cultural Center of Cape Cod; and Emily Ruddock, Director of the Downtown Lynn Cultural District.

Rep. Atkins, co-chair of the Joint Committee on Tourism, Arts, and Cultural Development, told the gathering that arts and tourism are the third largest drivers of the economy in Massachusetts, and that they “touch all of society.” She asked why anyone would want to live in Massachusetts after the devastating winter the region has seen. “The answer is sitting in this room,” she said, referring to arts organizations represented from across the state.

Sen. Lesser, co-chair of the Joint Committee on Tourism, Arts, and Cultural Development, noted that the arts are critical to the development of the downtowns of Gateway Cities and urged attendees to help lawmakers understand the critical role that arts and culture plays in the economic health of the Commonwealth.

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Arts Matter Advocacy Day To Be Held March 25 More than 130 artists and cultural organizations to participate

March 18, 2015―MASSCreative announces that it will hold Arts Matter Advocacy Day on Wednesday, March 25. Artists, cultural leaders, and advocates will gather at Citi Wang Theatre in downtown Boston from 10-11:30am and hear from speakers including Julie Burros, the Chief of Arts and Culture for the city of Boston, and State Rep. Cory Atkins and State Sen. Eric Lesser, co-chairs of the Joint Committee on Tourism, Arts, and Cultural Development. Joyce Kulhawik, President of the Boston Theater Critics Association and JoycesChoices.com, will emcee the event. Other participants include Sara Stackhouse, Executive Director of Actor’s Shakespeare Project.

At 11:30am, the group will hold an “Arts Matter March” to the State House. Arts advocates will meet with lawmakers at the State House to talk about the importance of arts and culture to local communities. More than 130 organizations and artists have signed up to participate in Arts Matter Day.

“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,” said MASSCreative Executive Director Matt Wilson. “It’s important that policymakers and legislators understand the value of investing in the arts and cultural sector, and our creative communities.”

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BOSTON, March 4, 2015— Statement by MASSCreative Executive Director Matt Wilson on Gov. Baker’s Recommended Funding of the Massachusetts Cultural Council in State Budget:

“As a candidate last year, Charlie Baker pledged to work with the Massachusetts Cultural Council to ensure it received adequate funding to carry out its mission. Gov. Baker’s recommendation to fund the state’s investment in arts and culture in FY16 at $11.8 million doesn’t provide the resources that the community needs to build 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 an additional 2 percent cut from the $12 million budgeted for the Massachusetts Cultural Council in FY2015.

“The creative community recently delivered a petition to the governor signed by 3,000 artists, leaders, and citizens that requests an increase in the state’s investment in the arts. Here in Massachusetts, the creative community makes vital contributions to the economic development of Gateway Cities; the educational achievement of all students; and efforts to build stronger communities.

“Massachusetts is home to large-scale museums, theaters, and orchestras that enjoy international reputations, as well as numerous community-based playhouses and art centers that drive our economy. We urge lawmakers to support a $15 million investment in the arts, which is necessary to ensure that arts institutions and local cultural councils across the Commonwealth can provide the diverse array of cultural activities that help the downtowns of our cities 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 communities.” 

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MASSCreative Delivers Petition to Governor with More Than 3,000 Signatures Calling for Increased Investment in Art

BOSTON, February 17, 2015—MASSCreative delivered a petition to Gov. Charlie Baker calling for increased state investment in arts and culture. The petition was signed by more than 3,000 people and hand-delivered to Gov. Baker’s office by students from Hyde Square Task Force in Boston, which uses art to transform the lives of vulnerable youth. 

The petition calls on Gov. Baker to “provide the arts and cultural community with the support it needs to build vibrant and connected communities across the Commonwealth.” It specifically requests a $3 million increase in the budget of the Massachusetts Cultural Council to $15 million from $12 million.

“Investment in arts and culture by the state means that more young people will have access to arts education that teach our students creativity and innovation. It means increased economic activity, particularly in the downtowns of our Gateway Cities,” said Matt Wilson, Executive Director of MASSCreative. “Arts and culture is the glue that connects our neighborhoods and communities. It’s what makes Massachusetts a place where we want to play, work, visit and raise our kids.”

Over the past 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 is stands at just $12 million. As a result, approximately 60 percent of arts organizations in Massachusetts operate in the red or near the margin. They are not having the impact that could be having on the economic health and educational success of our cities and towns.

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MASSCreative Praises Gov. Patrick for Executive Order Creating Dedicated Funding for Public Art

December 10, 2014—MASSCreative today praised Gov. Deval Patrick’s announcement that he is establishing by executive order a Massachusetts Percent for Public Art program. Under the Executive Order, a minimum of .5% of the costs of construction and renovation of state-owned property in Boston and Gateway Cities will be dedicated to the preservation of and creation of public art.

“This is a tremendous show of confidence in the value that arts and culture already bring to the Commonwealth,” said Matt Wilson, Executive Director of MASSCreative. “By directing funds to Boston and Gateway cities throughout the state, this program will spur economic development even as it supports public art that beautifies our downtowns and brings people together.”

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. This economic activity includes payment of mortgages, rents, utilities, groceries, and other common expenses by employees and contractors of arts and cultural organizations.

Every dollar spent by an arts and cultural organization generates $2.30 in sales for nearby businesses. This includes the costs of art production to printers, builders, maintenance and repair vendors, fuel suppliers, banks, insurance agents, advertising agencies, electricity, heating oil, and telephone companies, as well as state and local governments.

In the Gateway city of Pittsfield, nonprofit arts and cultural organizations spent more than $12 million in FY 2010 and generated the same amount in economic activity. They supported nearly 800 jobs, paying over $14 million in household income to residents. They generated more than $1 million each to state and local government.

The preservation, curation, and creation of public art is a vital component of this activity. The Executive Order will also create a 10-member Public Art Commission to oversee the program and to coordinate with local arts councils.

 

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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.

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MASSCreative Congratulates Governor-Elect Charlie Baker

Artists and cultural groups look forward to working with new governor


BOSTON, November 5, 2015—MASSCreative congratulates Gov.-Elect Charlie Baker, and looks forward to working with him to strengthen the Commonwealth’s arts and cultural sectors. MASSCreative also thanks gubernatorial candidates Martha Coakley, Evan Falchuk, and Jeff McCormick for participating in conversations about arts and culture in the Commonwealth throughout the campaign.

“We look forward to working with Gov.-Elect Charlie Baker to build a more vibrant and connected Commonwealth. We are excited for this new opportunity to find ways to integrate the arts with important state priorities including education, economic development, transportation, housing, and environmental affairs,” said MASSCreative Executive Director Matt Wilson. “It’s a bold leadership opportunity to bring Massachusetts to the forefront of state investment in the arts, which reaps benefits across all sectors of society.”

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Arts Leaders Meet With State Sen. Ben Downing; Downing Pledges To Support Increased Investment in Arts Community

November 3, 2014—MASSCreative announced today that leaders and supporters of arts and culture in Berkshire County met with state Sen. Ben Downing Oct. 31 at the Berkshire Museum to discuss the candidate’s vision for the creative community in the Berkshires.

Downing emphasized the importance of the arts to the economy and spirit of the Berkshires. Downing, who grew up in Pittsfield, recalled his many educational field trips as a student to the Berkshire Historical Society and the Berkshire Museum.

“The arts community is our strength. No other county in the Commonwealth boasts such a rich cultural scene. The arts and cultural community does such a great job,” said Downing.

Downing added that he believes there is a great opportunity to increase public support for the arts with incoming Senate President Stan Rosenberg and a new governor. He said he looks forward to working with arts leaders in the Berkshires to increase investment in key institutions and to the Massachusetts Cultural Council’s STARS (Students and Teachers Working with Artists, Scientists, and Scholars) residencies that supports arts education programs.

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Arts Leaders Meet With Candidate for State Rep. Michelle DuBois; DuBois Pledges To Support Increased Investment in Arts Community

November 3, 2014—MASSCreative announced today that leaders and supporters of arts and culture in Brockton met with Candidate for State Rep. Michelle DuBois Oct. 31 at the Fuller Craft Museum to discuss the candidate’s vision for the creative community in the 10th Plymouth district.

The candidate described arts and culture as stabilizing forces that help to keep the community whole. “There’s a lot of new murals in Brockton―when a child walks by a building and sees a mural where there used to be a brick, we’ve provided a positive influence,” DuBois said. “Art, especially in cities like Brockton, allows individuals to express themselves and can provide a way to cope with turmoil.”  

DuBois, who is a crafter and married to artist Adam Swinson, described her experience in volunteering with MASS MoCA to bring arts and culture to North Adams when she was finishing college in the late 1990s. “It was an exciting evolution for the city, and it had an important impact on fostering a creative community,” she said.

DuBois promised to support investment in the Massachusetts Cultural Council and the Cultural Facilities Fund, and to ensure that the 10th Plymouth District benefits from it. A proponent of incentivizing the re-use of old buildings in the district, DuBois committed to working with the legislature to encourage buyers to rent instead of sitting on property until the land becomes more valuable. 

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Arts Leaders Meet With Candidate for State Rep. Christine Barber; Barber Pledges To Support Increased Investment in Arts Community

November 3, 2014—MASSCreative announced today that leaders and supporters of arts and culture in Medford and Somerville met with Candidate for State Rep. Christine Barber Oct. 29 at the Somerville Museum to discuss the candidate’s vision for the creative community in the 34th Middlesex district.

The candidate described the impact of arts and culture in bringing the residents together and being the economic driver in the community. “Arts events and festivals bring people out and interacting with neighbors,” Barber said. “Arts make for a healthy civic life here. Somerville is a hot place to live because of arts and culture and we need to figure out how keep arts as a part of the economy.”

The candidate also described her experience with artists in the community through Open Studios and how it’s helped her in her policy work. Du Bois said that when she was working on health care reform, she met and worked with artists to make sure health care coverage was extended to them.  

Barber promised to work to increase investment in the Massachusetts Cultural Council. She said she values the Local Cultural Council program funded by the Massachusetts Cultural Council. “Both Somerville and Medford have successful Arts Councils that are doing incredible work in bring arts to our communities. Events like Porchfest and Riverfest make art real to us and help to build our communities,” she said.

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South Deerfield Area Arts, Culture, and Creative Leaders Meet With Candidates for State Rep

October 30, 2014—MASSCreative announced today that leaders and supporters of arts and culture in South Deerfield met with incumbent state Rep. Steven Kulick and challenger Dylan Korpita in separate meetings at Deerfield Arts Bank on October 28. They discussed both candidates’ visions for the creative community in the 1st Franklin district.

Rep. Kulick extolled the district’s rich arts and cultural offerings, which have led to Cultural District designations in Shelburne Falls, Montague, and Turners Falls. “The Cultural District designation draws visitors to the region, where the combination of the arts and the natural beauty of the area combine to support economic activity and jobs in the arts,” Kulick said.

Kulick spoke about his long-term support of the creative community during budget season as vice chair of the House Committee on Ways and Means. Rep. Kulik added that he will continue to work closely with the Legislative Cultural Caucus, leadership of the Massachusetts Cultural Council, and the Joint Committee on Tourism, Arts, and Cultural Development to bring the highest possible levels of funding through the state budget to support the creative community.

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