Arts and Cultural Community Cheers Senate Budget Increase

    

Amendment raises MCC budget by eight percent

 

BOSTON, May 23, 2014— MASSCreative today praised state senators for passing an amendment that would increase the budget of the Massachusetts Cultural Council by eight percent. The organization also praised community members for lobbying their senators for increased funding. MASSCreative Executive Director Matt Wilson issued the following statement:

“We are grateful to State Sen. Kathleen O’Connor Ives (D-Newburyport) for leading efforts to increase the Senate’s investment in arts and culture in Massachusetts. We are also grateful to Senate Ways & Means Committee Chair Sen. Stephen Brewer, and the 27 state senators who supported Ives’ amendment for increased funding for the Massachusetts Cultural Council.

“The Senate budget is a nearly $1 million increase over last fiscal year’s budget of $11.1 million. 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.

“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 proposal would increase it to $12 million. This is a smart investment in 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.

“Just six weeks ago, the House Ways and Means Committee shocked the arts and cultural community by proposing a 54% cut in the MCC budget. The arts community fought back by making it clear to political leaders that funding the creative community needs to be a priority. More than 500 community members met with 33 representatives and senators in district meetings to share stories with lawmakers of the impact that the arts community has in local communities.

Community members sent more than 3,000 emails to the State House over just four days to urge representatives and senators to reverse the cuts and increase the MCC budget. As a result, 114 representatives and 27 senators―141 out of 200 state legislators―to sign on to amendments reversing cuts and calling for increases in the MCC budget.

“Even with this success, the budget process continues. The House and Senate are setting up a conference committee to reconcile the differences between the House budget for the MCC at $9.6 million and Senate budget of $12 million. We look forward to working with the House and Senate conference committee to send a $12 million MCC budget to the Governor for his signature.”

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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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