"The Arts and Our Lives" - A Cognoscenti Post by Diane Paulus

This essay was originally published on Cognoscenti, wbur.org’s ideas and opinion page. It was reposted with permission.

"When I was an 18-year-old freshman at Harvard, I spent every waking minute (outside of class) acting in plays and directing them. But I never thought about theater as something I would actually do with my life. I was thinking about a career in politics. Something serious.

Now, 25 years later, I am back at Harvard as the artistic director of the American Repertory Theater. And nothing feels more serious to me than the transformative power of the arts."

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ACTION ALERT: Governor Patrick and the FY14 Budget

Governor Patrick is preparing his FY2014 budget for release at the end of January and he will be deciding how much money to allocate to the creative community through the Massachusetts Cultural Council (MCC). From now until July, the Governor, the State Senate and the House of Representatives will be debating how to allocate the estimated $32 billion in state revenue.

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ACTION ALERT: Protect Arts and Culture from the "Fiscal Cliff"

As you know, Congress and the President are considering a number of proposals to reduce the nation's budget deficit. One of those proposals would restrict or eliminate the tax deductions you and I can take for contributions to charitable institutions like arts and cultural organizations.
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Using data to show our impact

What happens when over 500 arts and cultural organizations from around the Commonwealth focus on data collection? We get a whole lot of numbers. More than that, though, we gain a wealth of information and tools to add depth and analysis when we tell our stories about the impact the creative community in our towns and cities.

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Guest Post: In Los Angeles, Art is Made a ‘Core Subject’

A guest post from a MASSCreative volunteer, Daniela Jacobson, and her take on recent arts education initiatives around the nation.

In education policy circles, STEM is an acronym that is shorthand for science, technology, engineering and mathematics. Isn’t it time to add an “A” (for the arts) and create STEAM? 

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Public Art in the Midwest

"It's not art for art's sake. It's an organic part of the community, meant to be interacted with." 
- Mary Altman, public-arts administrator for the city of Minneapolis.

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A Sense of Opportunity

On Tuesday night, I had the pleasure to spend a couple of hours with leaders of the creative community on the South Shore at MASSCreative’s first regional kickoff meeting. Read about it here.

The purpose of the meeting was for me to energize the attendees with our 2012-2013 Platform and Agenda and our grassroots outreach strategy to bring more resources to the creative community and arts education.  I personally got more than I bargained for.IMG_0373.jpg

I came back from Brockton brimming with hope and optimism about the potential of our creative community. The energy and talent in the room was impressive.  Thirty leaders attended from across the South Shore.  Among them - John, the Arts Director from the Abington Public Schools; Anne, a painter East Bridgewater; Jose, the founder of Jose Movimentu Shokanti, an art and social change group in Brockton; Elizabeth who is opening up a fiber store in Easton; Carolyn who is coordinating the Easton Shovel Town Cultural District Initiative, and Titi, the communications coordinator at The Fuller Craft Museum in Brockton.  All from different disciplines, backgrounds, ages and towns – yet all united around the belief that our work is not only nice, but our work is necessary.  They left the meeting that night with a sense of what is possible – for us to not be back on our heels, but for us to be out there boldly asking for what we need.

We learned about all the great work going on all across the South Shore. We discussed the need for leaders of the creative community to engage in public policy and even more importantly the need to engage our audiences and to have their voice heard.

And yes we got to work.  At the end of the meeting we all sat down and wrote postcards to our local candidates and political leaders encouraging them to endorse the MASSCreative platform.  For some, it was the first time they had dipped their toe into the realm of policy and engaged with their political leaders.

With our statewide kickoff meeting in Worcester and the Brockton meeting under our belt, we have taken the first step to engaging and building our base all across the state.

Please spread the word about MASSCreative’s tour of the state

A sense of opportunity abounds.

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The Art of Science

Art of ScienceThe United States has over 30,000 cities. Last week, the National Science Foundation gave three of those cities reason to boast by awarding them a share of $2.6 million Art of Science Learning grant: San Diego, Chicago, and, Massachusetts' own, Worcester.

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Welcome to MASSCreative

For the past six months I have crisscrossed the Commonwealth introducing myself and MASSCreative to the leaders and supporters of the Massachusetts creative community.  I have traveled to more than 40 communities and have personally introduced MASSCreative to more than 400 arts and cultural leaders. 

Entering into this passionate and energetic group of people gives me optimism and hope that MASSCreative can provide the structure and opportunities to build a powerful and robust movement for the Commonwealth’s creative community.

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Creativity in Action: Pittsfield

You cannot do arts and culture in order to have economic development. Do arts and culture for its own sake, but wait for the lovely side effects” Megan Whilden, Director of Cultural Development in Pittsfield, MA

The city of Pittsfield embraced creativity, arts and culture at a time when the city and its residents needed it most. From there, the "lovely side effects" have been incredible.

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Community Impact