left-bracket.png  Meet the Team!  right-bracket.png

Joining Matt Wilson, Tracie Konopinski, and Drew Esposito for the campaign season, we've got some new faces! 

Meet our new campaign organizers: Mark Leckband, Kelsey Roggensack, and Zach Niles. They've been busy calling up the arts and cultural crowd, going to events out in the community, and building up the excitement around Arts Matter Day!

Meet our new interns: Melinda Frimpong and Yaira Matos (not pictured). Melinda and Yaira have been busy getting hands on with our social media and organizing the student bodies at Boston University and Salem State!

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Guest Blog Post: Why Art Matters To Berkshire Pulse

Invitation_pix.jpgPhoto: Eric Limon


The village of Housatonic was formed in the early 1800s around the textile and paper mills that opened on the banks of the Housatonic River. At its peak, manufacturers employed over 500 people and occupied five downtown factory buildings totaling 420,000 square feet. However, like many New England manufacturing centers, the town entered a long period of decline after these businesses closed in the latter part of the 20th century. Mills sat abandoned for decades, crumbling into disrepair.

Eventually, forward-thinking residents recognized that the arts could help Housatonic redefine itself. Small galleries began to take over some of the empty storefronts, and artists began to relocate here from nearby urban areas like Boston and New York.  

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mc_cms_blueSq.jpg Local impact: Candidates talk arts & culture mc_cms_blueSq.jpg


With just one month until Election Day, candidates’ campaigns are ramping up statewide. The candidates for governor and for the Massachusetts House and Senate seats are out in the field talking to constituents about their priorities and vision for the Commonwealth. The opportunity couldn’t be better to elevate arts and culture in the discussion.

This past month, MASSCreative sent an arts and cultural questionnaire to more than 200 legislative candidates and we are receiving insightful responses. The questionnaire answers illustrate the candidates’ strong connections to the arts both in their districts and in their personal experience. It’s impressive, but not surprising to hear about the role arts and culture play in cities, towns, and neighborhoods all across the Commonwealth.

We look forward to continuing the conversation between the Gubernatorial candidates and House and Senate candidates and their constituents through scheduled sit-down meetings in the community. Check out their thoughts on arts and culture and how this integrates into their campaigns. 

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mc_cms_blueSq.jpg  #ArtsMatter form Somerville to Salem,  mc_cms_blueSq.jpg 
Easthampton to Lawrence

As we ask arts and cultural groups why arts matter to them and why this matters in the gubernatorial and legislative races, the answers continue to be a testament to the depth and breadth of the creative community.

Another week, another great crop of Arts Matter videos! Executive director David LaValley at The Center for Arts in Natick films some familiar faces sharing their “Arts Matter Stories” in his video, including prominent musicians Suzanne Vega, Livingston Taylor, Stacey Peasley, Patty Larkin, and Jake Shimabukuro.

Greg Hughes and Kristen Gregory at Jacob's Pillow Dance Festival speak to the inherent reasons why arts matter to everyone, and why it is imperative to support both art and the institutions that create it.

Somerville Community Access Television executive director Wendy Blom shares her video in Union Square, where she reports on local cultural events like the “What the Fluff? Festival” and highlights the importance of raising the profile of arts in the upcoming state elections.

Catalina Arrubla of Multi-Arts speaks form the heart, providing thoughtful testimony to the influence of the arts in our culture, and its ability to encapsulate our stories.

Watch these videos below for a sampling of the diverse array of Arts Matter stories from the creative community. 

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mc_cms_blueSq.jpg #ArtsMatterDay: Building our collective voice on Oct 24 mc_cms_blueSq.jpg

To capture all the excitement buzzing around the state leading up to #ArtsMatterDay on October 24th, we created a visual worthy of the community’s efforts. Check out our Arts Matter Partners Map charting out all the activity from arts and cultural groups taking action on Arts Matter Day.  For each dot on the map, there is a group acting to show the candidates that arts matter to them and should matter in our upcoming state elections. 

There's over a hundred of organizations that are taking action on October 24th. To find out how you can take action check out our Arts Matter Day page.

On October 24th, help us celebrate by visiting one of these Arts Matter Partners’ venues and engaging in political discourse around the arts.


#ArtsMatterDay isn’t just happening at arts and cultural institutions – it’s happening online. To reach candidates and Massachusetts voters, MASSCreative is drumming up the action on social media and injecting arts and culture into the conversation about our next elected officials and their platforms.

You can join that conversation.

On October 24th, we want the hashtag #ArtsMatter to catch fire on social media. You can help amplify the message through our Thunderclap page. Thunderclap is a tool that allows us to send out a message from a critical mass of supporters simultaneously.

We need 100 sign-ups to reach that critical mass.

Sign up and we can blast out a timed Twitter, Facebook, or Tumblr post from all our supporters on #ArtsMatterDay! Can we get this trending? We think so. 

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[Image Courtesy of Massachusetts Cultural Council]


mc_cms_blueSq.jpg  Boosted investment in arts & culture:  mc_cms_blueSq.jpg
MCC celebrates with the community 

October is National Arts & Humanities Month, and the timing couldn’t be better to celebrate our state’s investment in arts, culture, and creativity across the Commonwealth. Massachusetts Cultural Council (MCC) is organizing Creative Communities/Creative Minds receptions to celebrate its recent announcement of more than $10 million in FY15 grants to nonprofit cultural organizations, communities, schools, and youth programs statewide.

This past Tuesday at the Boston Ballet, MASSCreative joined Speaker DeLeo, Senator DiDomenico, Representative Cory Atkins, House Minority Leader Brad Jones, Representative Jay Livingstone and the MCC to meet the Ballet’s new executive director Max Hodges and hear about her plans for the Ballet as it moves into celebrating its 50th season.

Next Tuesday, Oct. 7 at the Provincetown Art Association and Museum, Cultural Caucus Co-Chair Sen. Dan Wolf and Rep. Sarah Peake will welcome visitors and celebrate 100 years of programming at the museum.

Wednesday, Oct. 15 at Historic Deerfield, Mass Humanities & House Ways & Means Committee Vice Chair Rep. Steve Kulik will host the crowd and honor the site which recently received a $30,000 Cultural Facilities Fund grant to make it more accessible to visitors.

Thanks to the creative community’s engagement in MASSCreative’s advocacy work, there’s more money in the pot for state investment in arts, culture, and creativity. During the FY15 budget season, the mobilized grassroots community generated 2,500+ signatures to Governor Patrick, 3,000+ emails to state legislators, 7 op-eds in daily newspapers, held 33 district meetings with 550 attendees that resulted in 141 out 200 legislators signing on to an amendment to significantly increase the MCC’s budget. Collectively, these impressive actions prove the effectiveness of arts advocacy.


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mc_cms_blueSq.jpg Candidates & their siblings in the arts mc_cms_blueSq.jpg

After the question came up at the Create The Vote Gubernatorial Forum, we now know that each of the candidates has a personal connection to the arts. What you may not know is that three of the candidates have siblings who hold prominent positions in the arts.

In the Boston Globe’s Capital Source section, Frank Phillips wrote a piece about Martha Coakley tapping on her sister to help oversee her advisory council on the creative economy (as well as Steve Grossman’s wife, Barbara).

Jane Coakley, the Democratic candidate’s sister, is executive director of the Martha’s Vineyard Chamber Music Society. Barbara Grossman, who is the wife of state Treasurer and former gubernatorial hopeful Steve Grossman, is a professor in Tufts University’s Department of Drama and Dance.

“I thought the two of them could start to put together, across the state, a group of very devoted teachers, artists, people who want to see opportunities for artists in Massachusetts and to continue to push for our schools,” Coakley said.

Coakley isn’t the only candidate with a prominent sibling in the arts. Charlie Baker’s brother, Alex, chairs SpeakEasy Stage Company’s Board of Directors, and Evan Falchuk’s brother, Brad, is a co-creator of the popular television shows Glee and American Horror Story.

Let’s hope support for the arts runs in the family.

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Boston and Statewide Media Talks News Arts Czar

For the first time in 20 years, Boston will have a new arts czar. Mayor Marty Walsh appointed Chicago-native Julie Burros as the new Boston Chief of Arts and Culture.  In the 2013 Boston mayoral race, the MASSCreative-led Create the Vote coalition worked to elevate arts as a key issue in the campaign.

“During the mayoral campaign, Walsh was the first candidate to pledge to hire a cabinet-level arts commissioner, and his fulfillment of that promise is truly groundbreaking,” said Executive Director Matt Wilson.  "[Mayor] Walsh could learn a lot by following the blueprint set by Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel."

 In articles by WBUR and Boston Magazine, authors Greg Cook and Steve Annear both highlight Burros' background as the current director of cultural planning at Chicago's Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events.

 We're looking forward to working with Julie Burros and Mayor Walsh to continue to bolster the city's arts and cultural sector. 

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Amplifying our arts voice on #ArtsMatterDay Oct 24


To make an impact during the campaign season, we’ll need help from arts supporters all over the Commonwealth. Help us elevate arts in the discussion around our statewide political races by making your ‘arts voice’ heard.

Election day is just 5 weeks away, and together we’re putting arts and culture on the political map. To continue showing the candidates that arts and culture matter in this election, join us for Arts Matter Day on October 24th.

On October 24th, join hundreds of organizations across the state in reaching out to your supporters and networks, inviting them share why Arts Matter to them.

Sign up here to celebrate Arts Matter Day on October 24.

You can also share your Arts Matter story with us through a 30-90 second video. Check out our YouTube gallery and our Facebook album to see what others are sharing. 

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Groups putting arts and culture on the agenda


Groups putting arts & culture on the agenda


Working with Create the Vote coalition partners around the state, We’re looking forward to seeing what arts and cultural organizations have planned for #ArtsMatterDay. Check out what folks are gearing up for:

Hadley – Multi-Arts: Catalina Arrubla has a unique plan for Arts Matter Day.  She and others will be starving themselves of the arts – no music, no paintings, and no dance.  No arts of any kind.  If art is present anywhere they go then they must leave.  Participants will be documenting their experience on social media using the hashtag #ArtsMatter.

Pittsfield – The Berkshire Music School: Tracy Wilson wants to plan an Arts Matter Day block party with the Berkshire Museum and others.  This is a great vision for how to celebrate -- connecting with the community to amplify a common message: Arts Matter in the Berkshires.

Fenway - The Fenway Alliance will hold its 13th annual Opening Our Doors in the Fenway Cultural District on October 13, and would like to have a real ‘Arts Matter’ presence there. Among all the exciting activities – mural-painting, public art, integrative music projects, dance instruction – there will be some great opportunities to get involved in arts advocacy and share your ‘Arts Matter’ story. Stay tuned and check out what else they have in store.

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