Statement by MASSCreative Executive Director Matt Wilson on House Ways and Means Recommended Budget for Funding of Massachusetts Cultural Council

“The House Ways and Means recommendation to fund the state’s investment in arts and culture in FY16 at $10 million doesn’t provide the resources that the community needs to maintain the impact that arts and culture have made in education and economic development, much less to continue building a more vibrant and connected Massachusetts. Over the past 25 years, the Commonwealth’s investment in the creative community has declined nearly 60 percent. This recommendation represents a 16 percent cut from the $12 million budgeted for the Massachusetts Cultural Council in FY2015. 

“We have long known that students involved in arts programming are more likely to graduate high school and attend college, and that arts education fosters development of critical thinking and results in higher achievement outcomes. We also know that nonprofit arts and cultural organizations in Massachusetts support more than 45,000 jobs, spend $2.1 billion annually, and generate another $2.5 billion of economic activity. Additionally, every dollar spent by an arts and cultural organization generates $2.30 in sales for nearby businesses.

“Put simply, the creative community in Massachusetts makes vital contributions to the economic development of Gateway Cities; the educational achievement of all students; and efforts to build stronger communities. Core to the success of this cultural impact is public investment in arts and culture through the Massachusetts Cultural Council. But the budget proposed today by the House Ways and Means Committee will point the state in the wrong direction. We urge legislators to co-sponsor Rep. Cory Atkins’ amendment to increase state investment in arts and culture to $15 million, which is necessary to ensure that arts institutions and local cultural councils across the Commonwealth can provide the diverse array of cultural activities that make the downtowns of our cities more attractive to residents and visitors alike; promotes educational programming that helps students of all abilities to excel across all academic disciplines; and builds more vibrant, connected communities.” 


Founded in 2012, MASSCreative works with creative leaders and entrepreneurs, working artists, arts educators, and arts and cultural supporters to empower creative organizations and the public with a powerful voice to advocate for the resources and support necessary to build vibrant and connected communities. MASSCreative has more than 300 arts and cultural member organizations from around the state. 

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