Statement by MASSCreative Executive Director Emily Ruddock on appointment of Michael J. Bobbitt as the next Executive Director of the Mass Cultural Council

BOSTON, December 18, 2020—The Mass Cultural Council has announced that Michael J. Bobbitt will serve as its next executive director. MASSCreative Executive Director Emily Ruddock issued the following statement in response: 

“This is truly wonderful news, and we congratulate Michael J. Bobbitt as well as the Mass Cultural Council. Michael is a champion for making the transformative power of art accessible to all. MASSCreative has worked closely with Michael in his role as Artistic Director of New Repertory Theatre in Watertown and we have seen first hand his commitment to community organizing and advocacy. 

“MASSCreative shares Michael’s vision for a vibrant, community-based arts sector that builds liveable neighborhoods, enhances education, develops robust local economies, contributes to health and well-being, and builds trust and respect across differences to advance social justice and cultural equity. Michael’s talent is what our community needs now as it continues to reckon with the devastating economic impact of COVID-19 pandemic, which has triggered $478 million in revenue losses since March. We look forward to working with Michael in ensuring that every resident of the Commonwealth has access to art, culture, and creativity.”

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December 10 Policy & Action Review

Last Friday, December 4, we held our final Policy and Action Update webinar for 2020. What a long year it has been! We shared updates on the FY21 State budget as well as ways you can continue to effectively advocate for the arts and culture community. In this post you will find two important action alerts to State lawmakers.

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December 10 Policy Update

MASSCreative continues to monitor and report on state and federal policy that supports equitable communities and a stronger, more inclusive creative sector. 

Included in MASSCreative's December 10 Policy Update:

  • FY21 State Budget
  • Rollback of Reopening
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Boston Gay Men’s Chorus: Connecting during COVID

This weekend, WCVB Channel 5 will air “Home for the Holidays,” a 30-minute showcase of holiday songs from the Boston Gay Men’s Chorus. The special production will feature past performances of beloved Christmas carols, festive favorites, and modern classics from BGMC’s holiday concerts intercut with scenes of local holiday traditions like ice skating at the Boston Common Frog Pond, BGMC’s international tours, and reflections from chorus members on the meaning and magic of the season and its songs. Hosted by BGMC Music Director Reuben M. Reynolds III with an introduction by Randy Price, the country’s first openly gay TV news anchor who recently retired from WCVB-TV after many years, “Home for Holidays” is the culmination of BGMC’s efforts to remain connected with the community despite not being able to take the stage to perform. 

“Like every other performing arts organization that had to cancel its spring season and all subsequent performances in 2020, we immediately began looking for creative ways to remain connected not just with our audiences, but also with our members,” says BGMC Executive Director Craig Coogan. “We have more than 200 performers and the chorus is much more than an outlet for creative expression. We’re family.” 

Just four weeks after the public health emergency was declared, BGMC released “From Our Homes to Yours—Everything Possible,” a virtual video dedicated to essential workers who are risking their own health and safety to ensure that people continue to have access to food and healthcare during the pandemic. The video has amassed over 100,000 views across BGMC’s social platforms. 

BGMC subsequently launched [email protected], a curated collection of new and archival digital performances that includes “Up on the Housetop,” playful rendition of the second-oldest secular Christmas song,” “Power of Protesting,” a montage of interviews with BGMC members describing their participation in Black Lives Matter protests to advance racial equity and justice, “Born This Way: Virtual Boston Gay Men’s Chorus, a virtual message of love for LGBTQ people of all ages who are struggling to feel connected amid the COVID-19 pandemic, “Celebrity Spotlight,” featuring never-before-shared archival content of guest performers Nick Adams, Laura Benanti, and Alex Newell, and the Member Spotlight video series, which showcases the diversity of the chorus itself.  

“Creating these videos has given the guys a creative outlet. We continue to meet via Zoom. Keeping up that connection is so important. But it’s also been important to keep creating. It’s essential to who we are and it’s what our audience wants from us,” Coogan says. “We know this because the response has been great. People are emailing us and leaving incredibly generous comments on social media about the videos.” 

Sample feedback? The LGBTQ newspaper Bay Windows recently editorialized that BGMC’s online offerings are making “life a bit more bearable during this interminable era of illness, death, cancellations, and closures.” And in its year-end issue, Boston Spirit magazine said that in 2020, “BGMC stepped up to deliver one powerful, thoughtful, timely video after another. 

Comments from fans in response to the videos include: 

  •  “Thank you so very much! Mom and I really needed this. Happy Holidays to you and yours!”
  • “Thank you for brightening our spirits!”
  • “Absolutely loved it! So creative and just plain fun!”
  • “I’ve missed your energy this made me smile.”
  • I love this series [Member Spotlight] and meeting all of the different people in your chorus.” 

But Coogan warns that arts, cultural, and humanities nonprofits can’t keep doing this alone. Referring to a recent survey by the Mass Cultural Council showing that arts nonprofits have sustained $478 million in revenue losses since March, Coogan says, “The arts are core to what people love about Boston and Massachusetts. All of us are working harder than ever to keep people connected. It’s what we do. But if we expect to have an arts community that is anything like what we had before the pandemic, we really need more help.” 

“Home for the Holidays” will air on WCVB Channel 5 on Saturday, Dec. 12 at 11:35 p.m. and again on Sunday, Dec. 13 at 1 p.m. The program will also be available to watch Saturday, Dec. 12 on MeTV at 5:30 p.m, YouTube at 8 p.m, and OnDemand via cable providers.

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Statement by MASSCreative Executive Director Emily Ruddock on Boston Foundation announcement M. Lee Pelton’s appointment as The Boston Foundation President & CEO

BOSTON, December 2, 2020—The Boston Foundation has announced that M. Lee Pelton will serve as its next president and chief executive officer. MASSCreative

Executive Director Emily Ruddock issued the following statement in response:

“This is wonderful news, and we congratulate Lee Pelton as well as The Boston Foundation. The demands placed on our communities by the COVID-19 pandemic are unrelenting. Continuing to adapt to those needs while also planning for a comprehensive recovery that will include people of all races, genders, backgrounds, abilities, and occupations requires bold, visionary leadership from our institutional leaders. 

“Throughout his career, Lee has been just that sort of leader in education, philanthropy, racial equity, economic development, and the arts—where he has demonstrated a deep understanding of the vital role that cultural engagement plays in all aspects of civic and community life. MASSCreative is grateful for the partnerships we have developed with Lee and with Emerson College under Lee’s leadership. We have no doubt that Lee will lead with the knowledge that recovery from the pandemic requires support for art, culture, and the humanities— which bring joy, contemplative moments, and connection to our lives even as they scale the impact of economic development, education, and public health and well-being. 

“MASSCreative looks forward to working with Lee in his new role.” 

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November 17 Policy & Action Review

Last Friday we provided updates on the FY21 State Budget process as well as a quick recap on the 2020 General Election Results. In this email we share two action alerts for Federal and State lawmakers as well as the latest research on singing and playing instruments safely.

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November 16 Policy Update

MASSCreative continues to monitor and report on state and federal policy that supports equitable communities and a stronger, more inclusive creative sector. 

Learn more in MASSCreative's November 16 Policy Update, including:

General Election Results
FY21 Budget Update
Mass Cultural Council COVID-19 Impact Study
Watch our Post Election Analysis Webinar



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What Happens After Nov 3? Webinar now available

Thank you everyone that was able to join us for our webinar What Happens After November 3?. For those who were not able to attend or would like to re-watch it, we have made the recording available here.

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CTV Webinar: What Happens After November 3?

Friday October 23, 1:30 pm - 3:00 pm. 

Many of us have focused our advocacy passion and organizing energy on November 3. Through Create the Vote, the arts and cultural community has stepped up to play our part educating and advocating to our audiences for a complete census count and increased voter registration and turnout.  

Our voter education efforts are ongoing and the outcome of the election is still weeks away.  However, in the months following the election, a new Congress will be seated and the new two-year legislative session begins here in Massachusetts. For arts and cultural supporters, this means there our shared work advocating for an inclusive, strong and publicly supported arts and cultural sector in Massachusetts continues. 

Join MASSCreative and the Create the Vote Steering Committee to hear what we can expect in the coming months for arts and cultural advocacy and learn from arts and cultural activists who have incorporated advocacy into their creative practice. 

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MASSCreative Announces New Director of Engagement and Organizing

BOSTON, October 19, 2020—MASSCreative announces today that it has named Tri Vi Quach as its new Director of Engagement and Organizing, where he will advance MASSCreative’s arts community organizing and coalition building efforts among arts leaders and advocates across the state. Quach brings over 20 years of experience in community organizing, student development, and education to this work.

“Tri is a skilled organizer and leader who knows how to build partnerships across diverse communities,” said Emily Ruddock, MASSCreative’s executive director. “As we continue to navigate the COVID-19 pandemic’s devastating impact on the creative sector, Tri’s experience in building community and finding innovative ways to connect will be of great value to the state’s arts, culture, and creative communities.” 

“We are incredibly excited to welcome Tri to the MASSCreative team,” added MASSCreative Board of Directors Chair Steve Immerman. “Political support for art, culture, and creativity requires on-going organizing and advocacy. Tri has the background and experience to build strong partnerships among artists, creative and culture workers, and arts and cultural organizations. He will be vital to our work  building a stronger and more inclusive creative sector in Massachusetts.” 

Quach was, most recently, a program coordinator, artist-in-residence, and adjunct faculty at the University of Massachusetts Boston in the Asian American Studies Program. There he focused on inclusive pedagogies and models of activism and organizing within the context of social movements. He integrated art and culture as a tool of empowerment into all aspects of his work, from installations across campus to assignments in the classroom. A visual artist, Quach uses a variety of mediums to share complex, sometimes contradictory, narratives of marginalization, trauma, diaspora and liberation. Quach is also the former director of the Coalition for Asian Pacific American Youth, a youth-directed organization focused on empowering youth to be leaders in their communities and schools, and advocates for the changes they wanted to see. 

“Art and activism are synonymous to me, and I’m excited to build on MASSCreative’s strong foundation of grassroots organization,” Quach said. “Art and culture are foundational elements to every community’s health and vibrancy but have often been positioned as a luxury good. Art plays a core role in strengthening communities by lifting voices through song, paintings, or dance. Art builds critical thinkers and broadens perspective of what is possible. In this way art is essential and I look forward to working with our creative sector to ensuring that everyone in the Commonwealth has access to it.” 

Quach holds an MS in Transnational, Cultural, and Community Studies and a BA in Art from the University of Massachusetts Boston. 

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