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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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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