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January 21, 2015

Contact: Gregory Liakos, Communications Director, 617-858-2720


(BOSTON, MA)— Today the Mass Cultural Council announced the winners of the 2015 Commonwealth Awards. Honoring exceptional achievement in the arts, humanities, and sciences, the Commonwealth Awards will be presented Tuesday, February 24 at a State House ceremony.

“Once again the Mass Cultural Council is honored to shine a spotlight on the extraordinary institutions and individuals who make the Commonwealth’s cultural life the envy of our nation,” said Mass Cultural Council Executive Director Anita Walker. “Their achievements remind us that expanding the quality and availability of arts and cultural experiences to our citizens doesn’t happen by accident. It takes leadership, generosity, and a commitment to excellence.”

Awardees are listed in the categories below with links to relevant background:
Access - Recognizes exceptional initiatives or programs that make arts and culture accessible and inclusive for older adults, persons with disabilities, and other underserved populations.

  • Boston Conservatory helping students on the autism spectrum develop their creativity and fulfill their potential as artists and learners.
  • Worcester Art Museum for integrating universal design principles into its mission in ways that expand access to its collections and programs.

Achievement - For an individual or cultural organization whose creative achievements have uniquely enriched life in Massachusetts.

  • Malcolm Rogers, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, for his extraordinary stewardship of one of the world’s great cultural institutions.
  • Beverly Morgan-Welch, Museum of African American History, Boston and Nantucket, for expanding awareness and appreciation of the remarkable contributions that African-Americans have made to the history of the Commonwealth.

Creative Community - For a city, town, or local organization that has demonstrated the central role of arts and culture in building healthier, more vital, more livable communities.

  • Town of Plymouth for integrating historic preservation, arts, and tourism to create a unique experience for visitors and residents alike.
  • City of Gloucester for providing leadership, funding and infrastructure to the places where art and culture are presented, and where artists live and work.

Creative Youth Development - For an individual, school, or cultural organization that has demonstrated the importance of creative expression to the lives of young people.

  • John Macero, Superintendent, Winthrop Public Schools; & Trudy Macero, Director, Winthrop School of Performing Arts, for working to provide all of their community’s children with opportunities to experience the arts in school and afterschool.
  • Barrington Stage Co., Pittsfield for its range of quality programs that introduce children and adolescents to the power and joy of live theater.

Cultural Philanthropy - For an individual, corporation, or foundation that has made lasting contributions to the cultural life of Massachusetts through charitable giving.

Leadership - For the leader of a non-profit cultural organization, school, or community that has demonstrated extraordinary commitment to serving the public.

  • Mayor Martin Walsh, Boston for making arts and culture a priority for the city of Boston.
  • Arts Boston for its leadership in helping arts organizations grow their audiences and make deeper connections to their communities through its Audience Initiative and Arts Factor.

Media - For a journalist or a media organization that has demonstrated outstanding support of the cultural community in Massachusetts by telling its stories.

  • WBUR, Boston for expanding quality coverage of arts and culture through the ARTery.
  • WGBY, Springfield for placing arts and culture at the core of its television coverage for audiences in Western Massachusetts and beyond.

STEM to STEAM - For an individual, school, or cultural organization that has successfully fused learning in the arts with science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM).

State government leaders will be on hand to present the Commonwealth Awards Tuesday, February 24 at the Massachusetts State House from 1 to 4 p.m. The ceremony will feature performances by musicians from the Handel & Haydn Society, now celebrating its bicentennial season. It will also feature a recitation by Springfield Central High School student Courtney Stewart, two-time Mass. State Champion of Poetry Out Loud, a national high school poetry recitation competition celebrating its tenth anniversary. Each Commonwealth Award winner receives a medal designed and created by Taunton-based Reed & Barton. The event is free and open to the public, and registration opens today. Register to attend the Commonwealth Awards.

Presented biennially since 1993, the Commonwealth Awards honor the extraordinary contributions made by the arts, humanities, and sciences to education, economic vitality, and quality of life in Massachusetts. The Commonwealth Awards ceremony also bring leaders from the nonprofit cultural sector together to assert the sector’s value and make the case for public investment in its work. Past winners include leading artists and scholars such as Yo-Yo Ma, Olympia Dukakis, and David McCullough; world-renowned institutions like Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival and the Peabody Essex Museum; and communities like Pittsfield, Barnstable, and Lowell that have made arts and culture central to their revitalization efforts.

About the Mass Cultural Council
The Mass Cultural Council is a state agency supporting the arts, sciences, and humanities, to improve the quality of life in Massachusetts and its communities. It pursues its mission through grants, services, and advocacy for nonprofit cultural organizations, schools, communities, and artists. Mass Cultural Council's total budget for this fiscal year is $13.5 million, which includes a $12 million state appropriation and grants from the National Endowment for the Arts. Mass Cultural Council also runs the Massachusetts Cultural Facilities Fund in partnership with MassDevelopment.


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