Legislature Holds Hearing on American Rescue Plan Act Funding

On Thursday September 9, the Joint Committee on Ways and Means and the House Committee on Federal Stimulus and Census Oversight held a hearing on the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) Funding, focusing on the areas of Economic Development - including Arts and Tourism. 

This is an important step in our shared advocacy for recovery and growth of the arts and cultural sector. 

MASSCreative testified at the hearing supporting the report submitted by the Special Legislative Commission on COVID-19 Cultural Impact. The report recommends $575 million for arts and cultural recovery over the next four years. MASSCreative will also urge the Legislature to include $375 million in immediate recovery funding in any legislation considered this fall. 

But we need your voice in order to make our advocacy heard.

Two Ways to Take Action Today:

We need to make sure that the Committee and Legislators know we all support the equitable recovery and growth of the arts and cultural sector for all in Massachusetts. It's time to #ReviveMAArtsandCulture. 

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September 2: Boston Mayoral Forum on Arts, Culture, and Creativity

BOSTON, August 27, 2021—The Boston Mayoral Forum on Arts, Culture, and Creativity will take place Thursday, September 2 from 4-5 p.m. Co-hosted by the Create the Vote Boston 2021 Coalition and WBUR, the forum will foster discussion of mayoral candidates’ vision for Boston’s post-pandemic future and the role that artists and arts and cultural organizations will play in it. WBUR arts reporter Cristela Guerra will moderate the forum which will be livestreamed by HowlRound

“The next mayor of Boston will have a once-in-a-generation opportunity to lead the city out of the COVID-19 pandemic toward a more inclusive, just, and connected city,” said Cynthia Woo, Director of Pao Arts Center. “To succeed, the arts and cultural sector must be centered in those efforts. We look forward to this important discussion with the mayoral candidates.” 

“Before the pandemic, the city’s arts sector contributed $2 billion to Boston’s economy, sustained 30,000 jobs, and drew 21 million people to cultural events—which is more than four times as many people who attended professional sports games,” said J Cottle, Executive Director of Dunamis Boston. “Yet artists, their creations, and their numerous contributions to the city’s economy are often taken for granted by city leaders. We want to hear how candidates intend to sustain and support the arts sector, which has been devastated by the pandemic.” 

“Everyone who lives in Boston has the right to experience creativity and culture, express themselves creatively, and see their culture reflected in artistic expression,” said Karthik Subramanian, Managing Director of Company One. “But the systemic racism that has been laid bare, most recently, by the COVID-19 pandemic, has often meant that BIPOC entrepreneurs and artists working in the cultural sector have not had access to the same opportunities for funding and permitting and licensing as their white peers. This has reinforced systems of cultural segregation in Boston that must be dismantled to become a city of opportunity for everyone.” 

“Boston is a great city in which to live, work, and play, and artists, cultural organizations, and the creative sector is a big reason why,” said Carole Charnow, President & CEO of Boston Children's Museum. “But as cities across the country, including ours, grapple with lower attendance and smaller audiences due to the pandemic, cultural leaders are working hard to restore confidence and encourage audiences to return. We are seeking a mayor who understands this challenge, and will integrate arts and cultural recovery into their larger pandemic economic development plans. We are looking forward to having this important discussion with our Mayoral candidates in this upcoming forum.”

The Boston Mayoral Forum on Arts, Culture, and Creativity will take place Thursday, September 2 from 4-5 p.m. Members of the public can watch via livestream by HowlRound. To learn more about Create the Vote, follow us on Twitter @CreatetheVoteMA and Instagram @CTVBoston

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Teach-In: Recovery Funding for Arts & Culture


Friday July 16 from 9:30am - 10:30am

Thanks to a combined $5.9 billion in American Rescue Plan Act state and local recovery dollars, Massachusetts will have the opportunity to make key investments in every city and town in the Commonwealth. Additionally, the American Rescue Plan Act allocated $135 million to the National Endowment for the Arts and $135 million to the National Endowment for the Humanities. 

This funding is a once in a generation opportunity to significantly support the recovery and resiliency of the arts and cultural sector in Massachusetts. 

Join MASSCreative and our partners for a teach-in to learn more about each of these recovery funds and get the tools you need to ensure the equitable recovery of the entire arts and cultural ecosystem in Massachusetts.

Register Today


 

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MASSCreative urges Governor Baker to Sign State Budget

BOSTON, July 9, 2021—Today, the Massachusetts Legislature approved its Fiscal Year 2022 budget with funding for the Mass Cultural Council at $21.4 million. This is the largest public investment in arts and culture since Fiscal Year 2002 when the state allocated $23.9 million to the Mass Cultural Council, and it represents a $2 million increase over last year’s budget. MASSCreative Executive Director Emily Ruddock issued the following statement in response: 

“We are incredibly grateful to leaders in the House and Senate for recognizing and responding to the dire need of arts and cultural organizations and artists throughout Massachusetts. Since March 2020 and the pandemic-related closure of our museums and stages and the cancellation of musical performances, plays, and other live performances, nearly 900 arts and cultural nonprofit organizations—which represent a sliver of the state’s creative economy—have reported $588.3 million in pandemic-related losses. Individual creative workers in Massachusetts lost over $30 million during that same time. BIPOC-led arts and cultural organizations have been especially hard hit.

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Arts and Cultural orgs throughout Boston endorse Create the Vote Boston 2021 Policy Platform

Endorsees include Museum of Fine Arts, Company One, ArtsBoston, Boston Gay Men’s Chorus, Pao Arts Center, Boston Children’s Museum, Boston Arts + Music Soul (BAMS) Fest, and 30 others from every corner of the city 

BOSTON, July 9, 2021—The Create the Vote Boston Coalition (CTV Boston) announces today that over 30 arts and cultural organizations in Boston have endorsed its policy platform, and that CTV Boston is meeting with candidates for mayor and sharing information with the public from those meetings. 

The CTV Boston 2021 policy platform lays out three priorities for the city’s next mayor: 

  • Increase arts and cultural funding to $20 million by 2025 to ensure that all Boston residents have access to creative expression and cultural experiences across their lifespan.
  • Increase funding and program support for arts education in Boston Public Schools and access to creative youth development programs across the city.
  • Make Boston a more arts and culture-friendly city by increasing space for the creation and presentation of art, streamlining permitting processes, and removing barriers for holding cultural events. 

The policy platform was co-created by CTV Boston’s shared leadership, which includes Dunamis, Company One, ArtsBoston, Boston Gay Men’s Chorus, Museum of Fine Arts, Pao Arts Center, Edvestors, MASSCreative, and artist Ana Masacote. These core partners have been working closely with artists, creative workers, cultural organizations and arts groups from across the creative sector to develop a platform that reflects the multitude of experiences and perspectives of Boston’s arts community, centering the voices of those who have historically been marginalized from processes of advocacy and engagement.

CTV Boston met with mayoral candidate John Barros June 22 and with Boston City Councilor and mayoral candidate Michelle Wu on June 28. Earlier this week CTV Boston met with Boston City Councilor and mayoral candidate Annissa Essaibi George as well as State Representatives Jon Santiago, summaries of the both meetings are forthcoming. CTV Boston will meet Boston City Councilor and mayoral candidate Andrea Campbell on July 16. CTV Boston is currently scheduling a meeting with Mayor Kim Janey. 

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COVID-19 Cultural Impact Commission Releases Recommendations

BOSTON – The COVID-19 Cultural Impact Commission released its final report today, concluding in a series of recommendations to the Legislature that include the utilization of $575 million of the $5.3 billion in federal funding received by the state through the American Rescue Plan to address the recovery of the creative and cultural sector over the next four years, as well as several additional policy recommendations. 

The COVID-19 pandemic has been devastating for the Commonwealth's arts and cultural institutions, with the latest figures coming from the Mass Cultural Council showing a loss of $588 million by non-profit and municipal cultural organizations and $30.4 million in lost revenue reported by individual artists, teaching artists, and scientists/humanists from March 2020 to April 2021. 

In addition to adding a great deal to our quality of life, arts and culture represent a significant economic sector in our state that we must help rebound and rebuild in the coming months and years. Prior to the pandemic, arts nonprofits in the Commonwealth supported more than 73,000 full-time jobs, generating more than $2.2 billion in total spending and bringing in nearly $100 million in state tax revenue.  The Massachusetts arts and cultural industries generated over 25 billion dollars for the U.S. GDP in 2019 alone. There are nearly 310,000 people employed by the creative economy in New England, with nearly half employed in cultural institutions providing close to 150,000 creative economy jobs in Massachusetts. 

 

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MASSCreative statement on Baker Administration’s plan to distribute American Rescue Plan stimulus funds to municipalities

BOSTON, June 17, 2021—Today, Gov. Charlie Baker announced plans to invest $2.8 billion in federal COVID-19 funding from the American Rescue Plan to support economic recovery in communities hit hardest by pandemic. The plan allocates $450 million in direct economic development efforts, with $100 million reserved for cultural facilities and tourism assets. MASSCreative Executive Director Emily Ruddock issued the following statement in response: 

“These funding choices are incredibly disappointing and do not reflect lessons learned over the last year about the ways in which art kept people connected throughout COVID as well as the ways that systemic racism contributes to inequities throughout our civic and cultural institutions. By choosing to only focus on a part of the arts and cultural sector hundreds of organizations - not to mention creative workers and artists - will be cut off from American Rescue Plan funds that are desperately needed to reopen and rehire people. 

“Without bold, comprehensive public funding for reopening the arts and cultural sector, Massachusetts stands to lose key members of the vibrant arts and cultural community that have long been an economic engine in cities and towns throughout the state. Before the pandemic, cultural nonprofits in Massachusetts supported more than 73,000 full time jobs, generated over $2.3 billion in total spending, and brought in nearly $100 million in state tax revenues. Every dollar spent by an arts and cultural organization generates $2.30 in sales for nearby businesses, and in 2018, there were more than 21 million attendees for art and cultural events in the Greater Boston area, which is more than four times that for all major Boston sporting events combined.

“Community-based arts activities build bridges across neighborhood, ethnic, and class divides in ways that many other forms of civic engagement do not. Throughout the pandemic, arts organizations found creative ways to keep people connected and have been vital to sustaining personal and community connections.

The pandemic has devastated the arts and cultural sector, which has reported over $588 million in lost revenue. Sector reported reopening costs for arts and cultural organizations is estimated to be more than $100 million. Immediate assistance is needed to pay for the technological innovations needed to safely reopen, re-create jobs, and sustain and advance racial diversity and equity and diversity of programming in arts and cultural organizations across the state.”

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BroadBand Welcomes Performance Arts Home

Wu Man (pipa) and Regie Gibson (literary performer) premiere their original new work:
From the Yangtzee to the Mississippi Delta | the acrosswater call of a stringborn song
Created for Latitudes, January 2021

 

Just as BroadBand Collaborative, a performing arts organization started by Sara Stackhouse (former executive producer of Actors' Shakespeare Project), Cristin Canterbury Bagnall (former general manager and executive producer to Yo-Yo Ma), and Lori Taylor (former director of learning at Silkroad, an initiative of Yo-Yo Ma’s that encourages cultural collaboration) were set for their big launch, COVID-19 hit. Live performance spaces closed down, audiences stayed home and artists were left wondering what to do next. 

Canterbury Bagnall reached out to her partners with an idea. What if they created an online environment that brought artists and audiences together in an online setting that was evocative of intimate settings like the warmth of a campfire gathering, the open air and green of a public park or the lived in comforts of a living room? Stackhouse and Taylor loved it.

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House proposes $1.8M increase in arts and cultural funding

BOSTON, April 14, 2021—Today, the House Ways and Means Committee recommended funding the Mass Cultural Council at $20 million, which would be a $1.8 million increase over last year’s budget. It would also be the largest public investment in the arts and cultural sector by the state since Fiscal Year 2002 when the state allocated $23.9 million to the Mass Cultural Council. MASSCreative Executive Director Emily Ruddock issued the following statement in response:

“We are incredibly grateful to House Speaker Ron Mariano, House Ways and Means Chair Aaron Michlewitz, and Tourism, Arts and Cultural Development Committee House Chair Carole Fiola for their leadership in both recognizing and responding to the dire need of arts and cultural organizations and artists throughout Massachusetts.  

“Since March 2020 and the pandemic-related closure of our museums and stages and the cancellation of musical performances, plays, and other live performances, nearly 900 arts and cultural nonprofit organizations—which represent a sliver of the state’s creative economy—have reported $588.3 million in pandemic-related losses. Individual creative workers in Massachusetts lost over $30 million during that same time. Organizations led by Black Indigenous, and People of Color have been especially hard hit.

“The state’s ultimate economic recovery from the pandemic will be tied to the health of these organizations as they drive the state’s tourism industry as well as economic activity in our local neighborhoods. Before the pandemic, arts and cultural nonprofits generated over $2.3 billion in spending, brought in nearly $100 million in state tax revenues, and supported more than 73,000 full time jobs.

“The mental, emotional, and spiritual health of our communities is also tied to the health of arts and cultural organizations, which have found creative ways to keep people connected over the past year. They have offered virtual performances at no cost, outdoor performances, and free music, dance, and theatre instruction via Zoom for vulnerable youth.

This public investment in arts and culture is also an investment in ensuring full public access and representation in art, as the Mass Cultural Council prioritizes grant-making across diverse racial, linguistic, ethic, socioeconomic, and geographic communities.

“As we come out of the pandemic, we are going to need every tool at our disposal to revive the economy, bring people together again, and proactively work for racial equity. The arts and cultural sector will be central to these efforts. We applaud House leadership for ensuring that our artists and arts and cultural organizations will have the support they need.”

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MASSCreative, Mass Live Events Coalition Testify Before Joint Committee; Call for Passage of Cultural Futures Act

Groups cite urgent need among arts and cultural organizations

BOSTON, April 9, 2021—Today, leaders in the tourism, arts, and cultural industries from across the state testified before the Joint Committee on Tourism, Arts and Cultural Development on the impact of COVID-19 and necessary recovery measures needed. At the top of the list was passage of the Cultural Futures Act, which would set aside $200 million of the more than $8 billion that Massachusetts will receive from the American Rescue Plan, the new federal COVID-19 relief bill passed into law in March, for stabilization grants for arts and cultural organizations throughout the state.

“The arts and cultural sector needs significant and meaningful public support now to ensure its survival in the future. The state’s ultimate economic recovery is tied to the health of large cultural institutions like the Tanglewood and the New England Aquarium, alongside smaller, community-based organizations,” said Emily Ruddock, Executive Director of MASSCreative. “These smaller arts and cultural organizations especially drive local economies in our cities and towns, bring people together, and build bridges across neighborhood, racial, ethnic, and class divides. As we come out of the pandemic, we are going to need every tool at our disposal to revive the economy and bring people together again. The arts and cultural sector will be central to these efforts.”

Since March 2020 and the pandemic-related closure of arts and cultural venues in Massachusetts, nearly 900 arts and cultural nonprofit organizations—which represent a sliver of the state’s robust creative economy—have reported $588.3 million in pandemic-related losses, and individual creative workers in Massachusetts lost over $30 million during that same time. Organizations led by Black Indigenous and People of Color have been especially hard hit.

Thomas Whelan, President of the Massachusetts Live Events Coalition, a state Chapter of the National Live Events Coalition, said that nearly 60 percent of live event business owners will have closed their doors by the summer of 2021, even after the latest round of PPP loans, if they do not receive additional, immediate financial relief.

“These business owners will have depleted their life savings, lost their family homes, vehicles, and taken on massive debts to try and stay afloat,” Whelan said. “Our workforce, despite a recorded average of 20 years’ professional working experience, have gone from 5 am work call times to standing in food lines, due to food insecurity.”

Approximately 300,000 Massachusetts residents were employed in the live events field before the pandemic as event planners, trade show managers, ushers, caterers, entertainers, valets, and professionals in audio visual, lighting, floral, décor, staging, ticketing, and security.

Before the pandemic, arts and cultural nonprofits also generated over $2.3 billion in spending, brought in nearly $100 million in state tax revenues, and supported more than 73,000 full time jobs. In Lowell, Springfield, and Worcester—communities hard hit by COVID-19—arts and cultural nonprofits supported 500, 1,875, and 4.062 full-time jobs, respectively. In Lowell, arts and cultural organizations generated over $12 million in total spending, bringing in $478,000 in local tax revenue. In Springfield, they generated nearly $50 million in total spending, and $2.2 million in local tax revenue. In Worcester, generated over $125 million in total spending and $4.4 million in local tax revenue.

Ruddock added that the systemic racism in health care laid bare by the COVID-19 pandemic was also evident in the arts and cultural sector. “Culturally-specific arts and cultural organizations that were underfunded and under-resourced prior to the pandemic due to structural racism face even more challenges to survive post-pandemic,” Ruddock said. “That is why it is especially important that the Commonwealth Cultural Future Act directs distribution of grants to consider racial diversity and equity, as well as geographic diversity, and programmatic diversity.”

The Cultural Futures Act would establish a Massachusetts Cultural Economy COVID-19 Recovery Fund that will be administered by the Mass Cultural Council. The funds will be disbursed through grants to cultural organizations, both non-profit and for profit, as well as individual creative workers. Grants will consider racial diversity and equity, geographic diversity, and programmatic diversity within the cultural sector. They will also prioritize economic need and recipients’ economic impact in terms of job creation and tourism spending prior to March 2020.

 

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