Statement by MASSCreative Executive Director Matt Wilson on Recommended Funding of the Massachusetts Cultural Council in House of Representatives Proposed FY2020 Budget

BOSTON, April 19, 2019—Statement by MASSCreative Executive Director Matt Wilson on Recommended Funding of the Massachusetts Cultural Council in House of Representatives Proposed FY2020 Budget:

“The House Ways and Means Committee has proposed funding the Massachusetts Cultural Council (Mass Cultural Council) at $16.6 million, which would be a $533,000 increase over last year’s allocation.

“Equitable public funding of the Mass Cultural Council creates greater opportunities for all Massachusetts residents to experience creativity and to see their culture reflected in artistic expression. This contrasts greatly with corporate giving, which is often driven by marketing goals and focuses on blockbuster arts events or other highly commercialized activities while individual philanthropists are often motivated by personal goals. Private foundation support is highly concentrated with nearly half (46.4%) of all foundation giving going to a fraction of all recipients (2.1%). This results in narrow programming that limits the breadth and depth of representation and participation from all our communities.

“But the Mass Cultural Council awards grants to 329 Local Cultural Councils around the state. More than half of them serve regions with high rates of poverty. The Mass Cultural Council also gives over 6,000 grants annually to working artists, cultural institutions, community groups, and youth programs that are otherwise not served by private funders.

“Sharing creative experiences and expressing our creativity builds powerful connections with the people we’re closest to, with our community and the world around us. Research repeatedly shows that opportunities for cultural engagement and creative expression are just as integral to social wellbeing as adequate food, housing, income, and the opportunity to pursue meaningful activities. The Mass Cultural Council supports 45 cultural districts across the state that are building bridges across neighborhood, ethnic, and class divides in ways that other efforts at civic engagement cannot.

“None of these benefits to our communities and young people occur incidentally. We reap them when we deliberately choose to invest in artists, cultural organizations, and arts education. We look forward to working with members of the House and Senate as the FY2020 budget process proceeds.”

MASSCreative works with artists, cultural councils, arts organizations and the broader creative community to build a Commonwealth where arts and creativity are an expected, recognized, and valued part of everyday life. Working with our coalition of 400 arts and cultural organizations and artists from across the Commonwealth, MASSCreative uses public education and awareness, grassroots organizing, advocacy campaigns, and other civic and political engagement to ensure that arts, culture, and creativity are considered when important policy and political decisions get made at the state and local level.

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