#ArtsMatterChat: Tuesday, April 5th @ noon


The creative community and the media have been buzzing about the state of funding for arts and culture in Massachusetts. Sparked by The Boston Foundation's recent report, How Boston and Other American Cities Support and Sustain the Arts, recent conversations have propelled this topic into the spotlight, and arts and culture leaders and The Boston Globe have been calling on Governor Baker and the MA Legislature to increase government funding.

All these conversations point to one thing: we're lagging behind.
Where do we go from here? We ask our panel of leaders from the arts community and the State House to weigh in. 

Join the conversation on Tuesday April 5, from 12 pm - 1 pm.





@EricLesser, Senate Chair of Tourism, Arts & Cultural Development

State Senator Eric Lesser represents nine communities in the First Hampden & Hampshire District, proudly serving Western Massachusetts as the youngest member of the State Senate. He is Senate Chair of the Joint Committee on Tourism, Arts & Cultural Development, Senate Vice-Chair of the Joint Committee on Financial Services, and Senate Chair of the Joint Legislative Manufacturing Caucus. During his first year in office, Senator Lesser passed significant new laws related to substance abuse treatment and prevention, job training, and promotion of tourism and the arts.

Lesser’s legislative agenda focuses on the fight for greater economic opportunity and quality of life for Western Massachusetts, with initiatives around high-speed rail, a high-tech economy, job training, and innovation in government. Elected at the age of 29, Senator Lesser also spearheads the Senate’s agenda on millennial issues, including technology policy, student debt, and greater youth engagement in public affairs.



Obehi Janice is an award-winning actress, writer, and comedian. She is the TCG Fox Foundation Resident Actor at Company One Theatre in Boston, Massachusetts. The Improper Bostonian named her Boston's Best Actress in 2014. She will be starring in the one-woman show We're Gonna Die from April 20-29 at OBERON in Cambridge, Massachusetts (produced by Company One Theatre & A.R.T.) www.obehijanice.com


@JulieHennrikus, StageSource

Julie Hennrikus has been the Executive Director of StageSource since 2011. Prior to that she worked at Emerson College, as the General Manager of Emerson Stage. She continues to teach arts management classes at Emerson as a member of the adjunct faculty. Prior to Emerson, she was the Program Manager of the Memorial Hall/Lowell Hall Complex at Harvard University for ten years. She began her career in box office and front of house, including creating the Sanders Theatre (now Harvard) Box Office, running the box office for Mapplethorpe: The Perfect Moment at the ICA in Boston, and working for different shows at the Charles Playhouse. @JulieHennrikus, www.StageSource.org, @StageSourceBos


@nickylibs, Massachusetts College of Art & Design 

Nicky Enriquez - after a labyrinth of changes in her somewhat short professional career, Nicky is elated to be working in the arts in Boston as the Web & Digital Media Producer at Massachusetts College of Art and Design (MassArt), the only publicly-funded, independent school of art and design in America! Nicky holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology from Fairfield University, and a Master of Science in Library and Information Science from Simmons College.




Seth Lepore is a performing artist, educator and connector. He has created eight solo shows since 1997 and currently tours the audience-driven monologue Kickin’ Ass and Takin’ Names. His crash course The Nuts and Bolts of Being a Performing Artist has been hosted by Springboard for the Arts, SIU Carbondale, Pierce College, Assets for Artists, The Arts and Business Council of Greater Boston and Easthampton City Arts+. He is the co-founder of Easthampton Co-Lab, a member-run coworking and collaboration space in Easthampton which provides physical space and support structures for individuals to co-work, cross-pollinate, teach/learn and collaborate within the context of community.


Want to join the conversation? Follow @MASSCreative & the panelists and use the hashtag, #ArtsMatterChat.

Tweet to let your followers know that you'll be participating!


Arts Funding in the News
Boston Globe editorial: State and city must lead in arts funding
Julie Hennrikus' piece for WBUR: Let's build a better way to fund the arts
MASSCreative's blog post: The numbers don't lie: When it comes to arts funding, Boston lags behind
Massachusetts Cultural Council column for WBUR: When It Comes To Arts Funding, We Have A Long Way To Go   

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