State arts funding: How MA ranks nationwide

Ever wonder how Massachusetts stacks up against other states when it comes to arts funding?

The answers can be found in a new report from the National Assembly of State Arts Agencies (NASAA). Data is collected twice a year from state arts agencies, and it’s a goldmine of information for arts funding geeks.

Key findings in this latest report show that 41 state arts agencies received increases to their budget in Fiscal Year 2014. The median increase was 13.2 percent. Massachusetts is included in that list and did better than most with its 17 percent increase.

Still, those increases in funding did not offset the massive cuts that most state arts agencies have sustained since 2001 (31.7 percent) thanks to the two recessions that have taken place since then. Ten years ago, the state invested nearly $20 million in funding for the Massachusetts Cultural Council (MCC). 

Today, Massachusetts ranks ninth in legislative appropriation to the arts with $1.66 spent per capita. Minnesota leads the nation with $6.31 spent per capita in arts funding followed by Hawaii ($3.68) and Delaware ($3.57).  

The state ranks 27th in terms of the percentage of the total budget that is allocated for the arts ($11.1 million out of $35.8 billion, or .031 percent). Compare that with Minnesota, which invests .18 percent of its state budget in the arts.

Last year, MASSCreative led a campaign to significantly increase the (MCC) budget for the first time in seven years. Lawmakers and the governor responded by bringing the budget to $11.1 million from $9.4 million.

This year, we are asking for another increase of $5 million which would bring the MCC budget to $16.1 million. It sounds like a lot until you realize that this increase will still not bring state investment in the arts in line with where it was a decade ago. 

State Arts Funding from 2002 - 2014

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Please join us in advocating for an increase in public investment in the arts! Let us know if you are interested in participating in meetings to encourage your local legislators to increase arts funding. Meanwhile, if you would like to host a meeting with your state representative to share first-hand the impact that arts, culture, and creativity has on your community, click here.

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