The Rebirth of the State House Cultural Council

Mass Cultural Council Chair Anita Walker talked about the arts programming
happening across the state

In a standing room only event attended by over 75 lawmakers and staff, five statewide arts organizations representing artists, municipalities, creative entrepreneurs, and arts institutions both large and small, shared information on the state’s creative economy and the need for public investment in the sector.

The January 16 legislative briefing was organized by Cultural Caucus co-chairs Sen. Julian Cyr (D-Truro) and Rep. Mary Keefe (D-Worcester) and vice-chairs Sen. Adam Hinds (D-Pittsfield) and Rep. Sarah Peake (D-Provincetown). Sen. Cyr opened the event with a story about how he got the bug for politics by successfully advocating for increased funding for his junior high school’s music program.

“Arts and culture are integral to the Commonwealth. We need to be stepping up and supporting it in a meaningful way,” Cyr said.

In addition to building support among members for a $2 million increase to the Mass Cultural Council budget, the Cultural Caucus will have the opportunity to back legislation designed to strengthen the Commonwealth’s creative sector, which has ripple effects throughout the state in terms of economic development, education, and social justice programs.

“As a new legislative session begins, it is vital that arts funding and related policies are backed by a robust Cultural Caucus. It is exciting to see Beacon Hill lawmakers relaunch the Caucus,” said MASSCreative Policy and Government Affairs Director Emily Ruddock who helped spearhead the effort in conjunction with the Mass Cultural Council, Massachusetts Arts Leadership Council (MALC), MassHumanities, Arts|Learning, and the Metropolitan Area Planning Council and the .

Kathleen Bitteti of MALC thanked Joanne Muti, the Research Director for the Joint Committee on Tourism, Arts and Cultural Development for her support of the sector over the past decade. Muti, who recently announced her retirement, has worked closely with legislators and Committee Co-chair Rep. Corey Atkins to increase public support and investment in Massachusetts’ creative and cultural sector. Her contributions and collegiality will be missed by all who worked with her.


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