Municipal Breakthrough on Arts Funding in New Bedford


New Bedford became the first municipality in Massachusetts to create a dedicated funding stream for its city’s cultural and tourism sector, passing a local home-rule petition that commits 50% of its hotel tax revenue to the arts.

On January 13th, Governor Baker signed the legislation approving the fund, which will generate an estimated $100,000 a year to the arts community.

A number of towns and cities invest in their local arts scene and cultural institutions through yearly approved allocations from their municipality’s general fund. New Bedford’s ordinance creates a permanent and stable funding stream on which the arts community can depend on year after year.

“We applaud both New Bedford municipal leaders for creating a dedicated fund for arts and culture, and Gov. Baker and the state legislature for supporting this measure. New Bedford receives approximately $70,000 annually in state funding for the arts, and combining state funding with municipal investment creates the best possible partnership to ensure that local arts and cultural institutions have the resources they need to thrive,” said MASSCreative Executive Director Matt Wilson.

In 2016, New Bedford saw the sharpest drop in rates of unemployment among urban areas around the country. Incorporating arts and culture into city planning, as New Bedford does, contributes to the health of a city across all sectors from education to community building to the economy. New Bedford is setting a high bar for other Gateway Cities around the Commonwealth.

If you are interested in working to encourage your city or town to invest locally in your arts community, MASSCreative can assist you in your work. Contact Senior Campaign Organizer Tracie Konopinski at [email protected].

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