#ArtsMatter Advocacy Day: 250 march for arts & culture

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On Wednesday, March 25th, nearly 250 arts advocates from across the state traveled to Boston to represent the statewide creative community at #ArtsMatter Advocacy Day. In the morning, we convened at the striking Citi Wang Theatre to kick off a day of storytelling, marching, and advocacy. Our moderator, Joyce Kulhawik, helped set the tone for the day, rousing up the audience and welcoming an array of speakers beginning with the House Chair of the Tourism, Arts, and Cultural Development Committee Rep. Cory Atkins, and closing with Boston Chief of Arts and Culture Julie Burros.

Arts and cultural leaders took the mic to reflect on the impact of our work as a community and rally us to take action. Sara Stackhouse from Actors’ Shakespeare Project lead a discussion about effective storytelling, tying together our own personal narratives with the story of our community and what our greatest needs are as a grassroots movement. We rounded out the day with a role play exercise, where Vanessa Snow from Hyde Square Task Force and Senate Chair of the Tourism, Arts, and Cultural Development Committee Sen. Eric Lesser demonstrated how to make bold asks of our legislators.

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mc_cms_greenSq.jpg Next Week: Let's keep arts & culture strong in the FY16 state budget

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Governor Baker kicked off the FY16 budget season last month by delivering the first budget of his administration. His proposal gave us a good start, allocating $11.8 million to the arts and cultural community through the MA Cultural Council budget.

We now look to the state legislature where we see a clear opportunity to increase investment in the arts to $15 million. We received word that the House Ways and Means Committee will be releasing their version of the FY16 State Budget on Wednesday, April 15.  We need to be ready on the 15th to either praise an increase or advocate for an amendment to boost the budget if the House does not step up to the plate with an increase. 

So after the House Ways and Means Committee releases their budget on Wednesday, we may need to be prepared for two all-hands-on-deck days to let our legislators in the House know that funding arts and culture is critical to keeping Massachusetts a place we all want to live, work, play, and visit. On Thursday, April 16th, look out for our email letting you know what we need to do. 

And in May, get ready for phase 2, when the Senate Ways and Means Committee releases their version of the budget.

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mc_cms_greenSq.jpg Boston Embarks on Landmark Cultural Planning Process

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Today, Mayor Marty Walsh and Boston Chief of Arts & Culture Julie Burros unveiled details about the highly anticipated Boston Creates – the Boston Cultural Planning Initiative. Over the next 15 months, arts and cultural leaders and supporters will have the opportunity to engage and provide input to shape the vision and priorities for Boston's cultural sector.

From the onset of his campaign in the 2013 Mayoral Race, Mayor Walsh has said that he wants to lead an arts renaissance in the city. In his speech at City Hall today, Mayor Walsh recalled the Create the Vote Forum on Arts, Culture, and Creativity which brought more than 600 voters out to the Paramount to hear the candidates’ positions on the issues.  The mayor saw the passion of the electorate, and now, with the start of the planning process he is following through on one of his major campaign commitments. 

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mc_cms_greenSq.jpg Arts & cultural leaders make their case to Senate Ways & Means

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Daily News Staff Photo / Art Illman 

 

On March 13th, more than 50 leaders and supporters of the MetroWest arts, cultural, and creative community met at The Center for the Arts in Natick to encourage Senator Karen Spilka to take leadership on key issues being debated on Beacon Hill.

Spilka, a longtime supporter of the arts since her days on the Ashland School Committee, was recently appointed as the Chair of the Senate Ways and Means Committee, which helps to craft the spending budget for the state.

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mc_cms_greenSq.jpg Taking arts advocacy to D.C.

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Photo: Americans for the Arts

MASSCreative’s Director Matt Wilson joined Massachusetts arts leaders and more than 550 grassroots advocates representing 48 states from across the country to underscore the importance of developing strong public policies and to increase public funding for the arts.

Americans for the Arts' annual D.C. lobby day provides the opportunity to meet with federal legislators to discuss important issues, including the Congress’ funding of the National Endowment of the Arts (NEA) and the National Endowment of the Humanities (NEH).

The highlight of the trip was Gloucester arts leader Judith Hoglander’s meeting with Representative Seth Moulton, the 6th district’s new congressman. Moulton reinforced his commitment to the arts in his North Shore district and signed a letter to support increased funding for the arts.

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Community Impact

The Drama Studio is one of a handful of youth theatres in the United States that offers quality, range, and depth in its acting training programs. For Springfield-area youth, the Studio's conservatory program offers an unusual opportunity for training that prepares its graduates (all of whom are college bound) to...