MASSCreative Praises Gov. Patrick for $15M Allocation to Cultural Facilities Fund

July 7, 2014—MASSCreative today praised Gov. Deval Patrick’s announcement that he is allocating $15 million in his administration’s final state capital plan to the Cultural Facilities Fund for the repair and rebuilding of the Commonwealth’s aging cultural venues. This marks the second year in a row that Gov. Patrick has directed $15 million to the fund after allocating just $5 million annually since 2007.  

“These funds are critical to sustaining the Commonwealth’s aging infrastructure of cultural facilities which range from theaters, to concert halls, to dance studios, and museums. The arts and cultural community’s health depends, in part, on sustaining and expanding these venues for community use,” said Matt Wilson, Executive Director of MASSCreative. “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.”

The Cultural Facilities Fund was created by the Massachusetts Legislature in 2007. The purpose of the fund is to provide resources to maintain and rebuild the Commonwealth’s cultural venues. Since its creation, the Cultural Facilities Fund has invested $70 million to the development of cultural facilities in 118 cities and towns, and four of five of these grants have been awarded to Gateway Cities with struggling downtowns. These investments have leveraged more than $1.6 billion in spending on arts, history, and science building projects, and support more than 16,000 jobs for architects, engineers, contractors, and construction workers.

The governor’s support for the Cultural Facilities Fund came after a dedicated advocacy campaign by MASSCreative, and the Gov. Patrick made his announcement at a ceremony in Pittsfield today celebrating the most recent round of grantees from the Cultural Facilities Fund.

The Cultural Facilities Fund is jointly administered by MassDevelopment, the state’s finance and development agency, and the Massachusetts Cultural Council. This year’s grants included 81 capital projects and another 48 planning projects. A full list can be found online at http://www.massculturalcouncil.org/facilities/facilities.htm.

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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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Arts and Cultural Community Cheers State Budget Investment in Arts Community

Final budget increases funding for the Massachusetts Cultural Council by eight percent

 

BOSTON, June 30, 2014— MASSCreative today praised state lawmakers for passing the FY2015 state budget, which includes a $12 million investment in the arts, cultural and creative community. The $12 million allocation for the Massachusetts Cultural Council (MCC) represents an eight percent increase in funding for the MCC over last year. MASSCreative Executive Director Matt Wilson issued the following statement: 

We are grateful to state lawmakers and legislative leaders for this investment in the Commonwealth’s creative community. Massachusetts is home to large-scale museums, theaters, and orchestras, as well as numerous community-based playhouses and art centers that drive our economy, enhance the academic performance of our students, and build vibrant, connected communities. Core to the success of these cultural institutions is public investment in the arts through the Massachusetts Cultural Council.

The $12 million in funding for the MCC will result in increased access to arts education that teach our students creativity and innovation; increased economic activity, particularly in the downtowns of our Gateway Cities; and 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 the 141 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.

Specifically:

  • More than 500 arts and cultural supporters met with 33 representatives and senators out in their communities to tell them about the impact that the arts community has on our neighborhoods.
  • In just four days, arts and cultural supporters sent more than 3,000 emails to the State House urging representatives and senators to reverse the cuts and increase the MCC budget.
  • Arts and cultural supporters recruited 114 representatives and 27 senators, a total of 141 out of 200 state legislators, to sign on to amendments reversing cuts and calling for increases in the MCC budget.
  • Arts and cultural supporters raised the profile of the creative community by submitting op-eds to regional daily papers such as the Greenfield Recorder, Fitchburg Sentinel & Enterprise, Lynn Daily Item, Milford Daily News, New Bedford Standard Times, and the Hampshire Gazette.

The budget now heads to Governor Patrick’s desk, where he has 10 days to sign off on the plan.

 

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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 Praises State’s Issuance of $14M in Arts Facilities Grants

June 12, 2014—MASSCreative today praised Gov. Deval Patrick for issuing grants from the Cultural Facilities Fund totaling nearly $14 million. The grants will be used to repair and rebuild aging cultural venues that serve arts organizations, schools, and communities across the Commonwealth. The Cultural Facilities Fund is jointly administered by MassDevelopment, the state’s finance and development agency, and the Massachusetts Cultural Council.

“These spaces 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,” said Matt Wilson, Executive Director of MASSCreative. “It is vitally important that we sustain and expand these venues for community use.”

The need for these grants is high among the state’s hundreds of cultural institutions, and it continues to outpace supply. Until last year, the Cultural Facilities Fund was allocated approximately $5 million annually. After a grassroots campaign titled “Invest the Rest,” Gov. Patrick tripled the annual allocation to $15 million.

“Even with that significant increase, demand continues to outpace supply. Out of the $15 million being awarded today, the Massachusetts Cultural Council received applications that would have totaled more than $50 million,” Wilson said. “The state legislature is currently considering reauthorizing the Cultural Facilities Fund over the next five years. We strongly urge lawmakers to reauthorize the Cultural Facilities Fund at $75 million, which would support annual grants of $15 million over the next five years. These grants are transformative for communities and organizations, and strengthen our Commonwealth.”

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New Report Highlights Impact of Arts Community

   

Arts Matter to the Greater Boston region’s economy and quality of life

June 10, 2014—MASSCreative today praised a new report released by ArtBoston titled “The Arts Factor 2014 Report,” for quantifying the impact of arts, culture, and creativity on the Greater Boston region.

Using information from the Massachusetts Cultural Data Project, which collects longitudinal data about the arts and cultural sector, ArtsBoston found that arts and cultural organizations in the Greater Boston region support 26,000 jobs and account for $1 billion of economic activity. More than 18 million people attend arts events annually, which is more than four times the total combined attendance for the Boston Red Sox, New England Patriots, Boston Bruins, and Boston Celtics.

“This report shows that arts matter in Massachusetts. The arts and cultural sector is an important driver of the local economy and it is the glue that knits communities together,” said Matt Wilson, Executive Director of MASSCreative. “Lawmakers in the House and Senate are currently finalizing next year’s budget. This report shows the vital role that public investment in the arts plays in the health of the Commonwealth. 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 $11.1 million. We are urging lawmakers to allocate $12 million for the Massachusetts Cultural Council.”

The full report is available online here.

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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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Gubernatorial Forum on the Arts To Be Held July 15 At The Hanover Theatre in Worcester with Moderator Joyce Kulhawik

     

Create the Vote Coalition wants to hear candidates’ vision for the arts and culture in Massachusetts

BOSTON, May 22, 2014—Create the Vote, a coalition of artists and arts, cultural, and creative institutions based throughout Massachusetts, announced today that it will host the Gubernatorial Forum on Arts, Culture, and Creativity. Moderated by arts critic Joyce Kulhawik, the forum will foster discussion of the gubernatorial candidates’ vision for the arts and culture in Massachusetts. The forum will take place at The Hanover Theatre of the Performing Arts in Worcester on Tuesday, July 15 at 6pm. All members of the public are invited to attend.

More than 260 artists and arts and cultural leaders throughout the state signed an invitation to gubernatorial candidates to participate in the Gubernatorial Candidate Forum on Arts, Culture, and Creativity to hear what the candidates have to say on the role the next governor “should play in driving arts and cultural policy and supporting the work of the sector.”

“The next governor of Massachusetts needs to be a champion of the arts,” said Matt Wilson, executive director of MASSCreative, the convening member of the Create the Vote Coalition. “Our state is home to large-scale museums, theaters, and orchestras, as well as numerous community-based playhouses and art centers that drive our economy, enhance the academic performance of our students, and build vibrant, connected communities. Core to the success of these cultural institutions is public support of the arts. Our governor should be championing these efforts.”

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BOSTON, May 14, 2014— Statement by Matt Wilson, MASSCreative Executive Director on Senate Ways and Means Committee Recommended Funding of the Massachusetts Cultural Council in FY15 State Budget

“We are disappointed with the Senate Ways and Means Committee’s recommended funding for the Massachusetts Cultural Council, which would cut the state’s investment in arts and culture by more than 13%.

“Massachusetts is home to large-scale museums, theaters, and orchestras, as well as numerous community-based playhouses and art centers that drive our economy, enhance the academic performance of our students, and build vibrant, connected communities. Core to the success of these cultural institutions is public investment in the arts through the Massachusetts Cultural Council. The budget proposed today by the Senate Ways and Means Committee is a step backwards.

“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, it stands at $11.1 million and the Senate Ways and Means proposal would cut it to $9.6 million. Arts organizations in Massachusetts, particularly the smaller and community-based ones that do so much for the downtowns of our Gateway Cities, and enhance the educations of under-resourced youth, operate below full capacity and are not having the impact that they could be having on the economic health and educational success of our cities and towns.

“Sen. Kathleen O’Connor Ives (D-Newburyport) has filed an amendment to reverse the proposed cut and increase the Massachusetts Cultural Council budget to $12 million in the final Senate budget. MASSCreative will work with its statewide members to urge their Senators to support this amendment. MASSCreative and cultural leaders will continue to meet with lawmakers to request increased investment in the arts in Massachusetts.”

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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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Majority of House members support budget amendment seeking increase in MCC funding

BOSTON, April 11, 2014—MASSCreative announces today that a majority of state representatives have signed on as sponsors of an amendment filed by Rep. Cory Atkins (D-Concord), chairwoman of the Committee on Tourism, Arts and Cultural Development. The amendment would reverse a proposed 54% cut and increase funding for the Massachusetts Cultural Council (MCC) to $16 million in the final House budget. A total of 103 state representatives out of 155 current members of the House signed the amendment #357.

On April 9, 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 more than half from $11.1 million to $5 million. Arts and cultural leaders around the state took to the phones and social media to express their anger and disappointment in the proposed allocation. A storify by MASSCreative captures the reaction on Facebook and Twitter.

“Massachusetts is home to large-scale museums, theaters, and orchestras, as well as numerous community-based playhouses and art centers that drive our economy, enhance the academic performance of our students, and build vibrant, connected communities,” said MASSCreative Executive Director Matt Wilson. “Core to the success of these cultural institutions is public investment in the arts through the Massachusetts Cultural Council. The budget proposed by the House Ways and Means Committee is a step backwards. We are grateful for the leadership shown by Rep. Atkins and for all of the state reps who have signed onto 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 $11.1 million and the House Ways and Means proposal would cut it to $5 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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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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BOSTON, April 9, 2014— Statement by Matt Wilson, MASSCreative Executive Director on House Ways and Means Committee Recommended Funding of the Massachusetts Cultural Council in FY15 State Budget

“We are deeply disappointed with the House Ways and Means Committee’s recommended funding for the Massachusetts Cultural Council, which would cut the state’s investment in arts and culture by more than 50%.

“Massachusetts is home to large-scale museums, theaters, and orchestras, as well as numerous community-based playhouses and art centers that drive our economy, enhance the academic performance of our students, and build vibrant, connected communities. Core to the success of these cultural institutions is public investment in the arts through the Massachusetts Cultural Council. The budget proposed today by the House Ways and Means Committee is a step backwards.

“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, it stands at $11.1 million and the House Ways and Means proposal would cut it to $5 million. Arts organizations in Massachusetts, particularly the smaller and community-based ones that do so much for the downtowns of our Gateway Cities, and enhance the educations of under-resourced youth, operate below full capacity and are not having the impact that they could be having on the economic health and educational success of our cities and towns.

“Rep. Cory Atkins (D-Concord), chairwoman of the Committee on Tourism, Arts and Cultural Development, has filed an amendment to increase funding for the MCC to $16 million in the final House budget. MASSCreative will work with its statewide members to urge their Representatives to support this amendment. MASSCreative and cultural leaders will continue to meet with lawmakers to request increased investment in the arts in Massachusetts.”

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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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‘Arts for All’ Initiative Seeks Arts Education Requirement for Entry to MA State Universities

BOSTON, April 2, 2014—Seeking to better prepare students for academic and professional success, MASSCreative and Arts|Learning have launched Arts for All, an initiative to make one year of visual, media, or performing arts education a requirement for admission to the Massachusetts State University System and the University of Massachusetts System. Arts for All is backed by nearly 200 leaders from the state’s arts, culture, and education sectors, all of whom have endorsed a report making a detailed case for the arts requirement that was delivered Wednesday to the Massachusetts Department of Higher Education.

“Making arts education a requirement for entrance to our state universities is a matter of simple common sense,” said Arts|Learning Executive Director Jonathan C. Rappaport. “Arts learning improves students’ self-motivation, critical thinking, and problem solving skills—all of which are critical to their success in college and in today’s highly competitive job market.”

The Board of Elementary and Secondary Education’s recommended high school course of study (MassCore) calls for at least one year of arts education at the secondary level. However, the current Board of Higher Education (BHE) admissions policies for four-year public universities and the University of Massachusetts have no general admission criteria in the area of the arts (dance, media arts, music, theatre, visual arts). In fact, arts learning is the only MassCore subject area not currently required for entrance into the state university and UMASS system. Mandating it would bring BHE admission requirements into alignment with MassCore.

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BOSTON, March 4, 2014— Statement by Matt Wilson, MASSCreative Executive Director on House Ways and Means Committee Proposed Cut to Bond Bill Impacting Funding for Cultural Facilities:

“Now is not the time to take a step backwards. Last fall, Gov. Deval Patrick recognized how important the Cultural Facilities Fund is for repairing and rebuilding the Commonwealth’s aging cultural venues and he allocated $15 million to the Cultural Facilities Fund. To keep the funding at that level going forward, H.3920 needs to be funded at $75 million, which is what the House Committee on Bonding recently recommended. We are disappointed with the House Ways and Means Committee’s decision to recommend funding the H.3920 at $50 million. The House is expected to take up an amendment Wednesday, March 5 offered by Rep. Cory Atkins, Chair of the Tourism Arts, and Cultural Development Committee recommending funding in H.3920 at $75 million.

“The need is high among the state’s hundreds of cultural institutions. The Massachusetts Cultural Council, which is charged with reviewing applications for funding for repairs from the Cultural Facilities Fund has received requests this year totaling $50 million, when there is only $15 million to spend.

“In 2007, the Massachusetts Legislature passed a bill creating the Cultural Facilities Fund, and the governor signed it into law. The purpose of the fund is to provide resources to maintain and rebuild the Commonwealth’s cultural venues. Since its creation, the Cultural Facilities Fund has allocated $54.8 million to 269 organizations for the development of cultural facilities in 99 cities and towns. This work has resulted in the creation of 14,808 jobs to architects, engineers, contractors, and construction workers; and created 1,412 new permanent jobs. A healthy arts sector helps build connected communities and vibrant, thriving economies throughout the Commonwealth.”

 

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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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