Featured Member: Boston Gay Men’s Chorus: using music to heal

The Boston Gay Men’s Chorus is proud to be one of the inaugural members of MASSCreative. As a chorus we know that our voices are strong individually, but extraordinary, impactful and inspiring together. MASSCreative allows us to be part of the chorus of arts organizations making Massachusetts a leader in the arts.” —Craig Coogan, Executive Director of Boston Gay Men’s Chorus

   Photo: scarpettaphotography.com

When he performs as a member of the Boston Gay Men’s Chorus (BGMC), Samuel Brinton’s is one of 175 voices that fill concert halls across the city and around the world. He stands shoulder to shoulder with other men who understand many of his joys and struggles. He feels part of a community.

He never thought this could happen. Because once upon a time, Brinton believed he was the only gay person in the world. Literally.

“I was told over and over that I was the only gay person in the world. That I had AIDS. That God hated me,” explains Brinton, recalling the years when he was subjected to so-called “conversion therapy” designed to “cure” him of being gay. Eventually, though, he came to a place of peace and acceptance and music, in particular, was a critical part of that journey. Today, as a member of Boston’s Gay Men Chorus, he feels whole again.

Read the entire post on our Creativity in Action blog.


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 Campaign Updates: Battle for State Arts Funding is On

“Almost everyone would agree that the arts are vital to creating thriving communities. The problem for lawmakers is that it can be hard to justify to constituents that arts programs deserve funds that otherwise might go to police departments or public schools. But arts advocates received some powerful ammunition on Dec. 5 in the form of a preliminary report that states that the arts and culture sector contributed a whopping $504 billion to the American economy in 2011. Leaders across the country … should take note.” 

—Boston Globe editorial, “Local Arts: It’s Big Business, After All,” Dec. 15, 2013. 

The only way the arts community is going to get the support it needs to thrive in Massachusetts is by letting lawmakers know what those needs are. And that campaign is on.

Last year, MASSCreative led a campaign to significantly increase the Massachusetts Cultural Council (MCC) budget for the first time in seven years. Lawmakers and the governor responded by increasing the MCC budget 17% to $11.1 million.

This January, MASSCreative launched another campaign to increase the budget by another $5 million which would bring the MCC budget to $16.1 million, which is still behind where it was a little more than a decade ago. 

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 Create The Vote Boston

Boston’s creative community came out in droves on Jan. 25 to take part in Mayor Marty Walsh’s Arts and Culture Public Hearing, filling the space at the Boston Public Library. It was reported that the Arts and Culture hearing had twice as many attendees as any of the other dozen public hearings by the Mayor’s transition team.

The event was a clear example of the breadth and depth of Boston’s creative community.

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 Pushing for Arts Education Opportunities for All
Walnut Hill School for the Arts

Every student deserves the chance to explore their creative talents. It can literally be a life-changing experience. That’s why, at MASSCreative, we advocate for quality arts education for all.

Over the last decade, public schools have shifted their focus and resources to reading, math, and science instruction in order to meet state educational-testing standards, as well as federal standards put in place under the “No Child Left Behind” law. This has resulted in a narrowing of instruction that has pushed arts and humanities to the margins.

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 Patrick Triples Funds to Rebuild, Repair, and Maintain Cultural          Facilities


In November, Governor Patrick tripled his allocation to the Cultural Facilities Fund to $15 million to repair and rebuild the Commonwealth’s cultural venues.

The governor’s decision came after the creative sector pulled together to show the strength of the community. Together, the creative community gathered over 1,200 signatures from residents across the Commonwealth. Kudos to Robert Nash of The Cultural Center of Cape Cod, Erin Williams of Worcester Cultural Coalition and Kathy Czerny of South Shore Conservatory of Music for being the top recruiters on the Cultural Facilities Fund petition to Governor Patrick. 


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 Create the Vote 2014: Working to Encourage the Next Governor of          Massachusetts to be a Champion of the Arts

As the Commonwealth embarks on nine months of discussion and debate about the next Governor, MASSCreative will be working with the creative community to make sure the new Governor is a true champion of the arts.

Through the Gubernatorial campaign every four years, voters get the chance to bring up the strengths and weaknesses of the Commonwealth and our visions for the next 5-10 years. Historically, the issues of arts and culture have not been a part of that discussion.

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 In the News and Online
Yoon S Byun, Boston Globe Staff, 2011

mc_cms_blueSq.jpg  In the Boston Globe opinion column, Jon Garelick calls for a new Boston Schools Superintendent who is well versed in the arts:

"The arts were a big part of Walsh’s campaign. His closest campaign adviser, Joyce Linehan, who comes from an arts background as both a publicist and music industry professional, is now his chief of policy. This point of view is promising. But what’s important now is that Walsh and his administration maintain the courage of their convictions. As Walsh has reiterated, the arts are crucial to the health of the city. As such, they’re also crucial to the health of the city’s schoolchildren."

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 Welcome New and Renewing Members!

Over the last two months, 59 new groups have joined the MASSCreative Action Network. If you haven’t had a chance to sign up yet, join here.

We look forward to working with all our members as we roll out campaigns for 2014. We must build our momentum to increase state funding for the arts and ensure arts education opportunities for all our youth. 

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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...