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September 1, 2015

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

Mass Cultural Council Approves $12M for Public Programs in the Arts, Sciences & Humanities

(Boston, MA)—The Mass Cultural Council today approved a spending plan for the coming year that will invest more than $12 million in grants to nonprofit cultural organizations, local cultural councils, education programs, and working artists across the Commonwealth.

Mass Cultural Council’s FY16 spending plan benefits from a $2 million increase to its state appropriation, overwhelmingly approved by the Legislature last month. The increase represented another important step toward restoring funding for the arts, humanities, and sciences that was lost through recession-driven budget cuts. The Mass Cultural Council Board voted unanimously to approve a plan that will invest in the following:

Nonprofit Cultural Organizations: $4.5 million - The Cultural Investment Portfolio (CIP) comprises 389 nonprofit arts, humanities, and science organizations across Massachusetts. These organizations connect children and adults to theatre, music, visual art, and film; teach them about history, literature, and the environment; and introduce them to new languages and cultural traditions. Cultural Investment Portfolio grants must be matched one to one, and range from $2,500 to $56,500. See FY16 CIP funding list.

Communities: $3 million - Mass Cultural Council’s 329 Local Cultural Councils (LCCs) make up the largest public grassroots arts network in the nation. They provide funding to every city and town in Massachusetts through the efforts of more than 2,300 volunteers. The councils support local arts and history, fund school field trips, and sponsor local concerts and exhibitions. Grants to LCCs range from $4,400 for the smallest towns to $117,400 for Springfield and $179,000 for Boston, according to a formula that reflects the state's local aid system. See FY16 LCC allocations.

Creative Youth Development: $2.1 million - Mass Cultural Council works to expand access to quality, creative learning experiences in school and community settings. This year’s budget increase allows the agency to continue to deepen its investment in this work and meet growing demand statewide.

  • SerHacer supports a growing number of intensive, ensemble-based music programs that use music as a vehicle for youth development and social change. Through grants, technical assistance, and project support the Mass Cultural Council will foster this emerging field of music making in the Commonwealth. See FY16 SerHacer funding list.
  • STARS Residencies connect artists, scientists and other creative teachers with elementary and secondary schools for deep learning experiences that help students grow, develop new skills, and expand their imaginations.
  • Big Yellow School Bus grants help schools meet the transportation costs of educational field trips to cultural institutions across Massachusetts.
  • Poetry Out Loud is a national competition in which high school students memorize and perform classic and contemporary poems and explore the dynamic aspects of slam poetry, spoken work, and theatre in their English and drama classes. Over ten years the Huntington Theatre Co. has expanded this program to more than 50,000 Massachusetts students.

Creative Economy: $1 million – This includes new grants for state-designated Massachusetts Cultural Districts, and a new Festivals Program, along with the 10-year-old Adams Arts Program that supports partnerships that use arts and culture to drive community development. And the Cultural Data Project, which measures the economic impact of the nonprofit cultural sector.

UP Accessibility Program: $145,000 - UP will support the growth and development of organizations that recognize the power of inclusive design to grow audiences and enhance cultural experiences for all, and that embrace inclusivity as core to their mission.

Artist Fellowships: $441,000 – This year Mass Cultural Council celebrates 40 years of support for working artists through its Artist Fellowships. Additional funds allow Mass Cultural Council to boost Artist Fellowships in a range of disciplines to $12,000.

Mass Humanities: $528,420 - The Mass Cultural Council provides an annual partnership grant to Mass Humanities, which supports public programs in history, literature, and other humanities disciplines to enhance and improve civic life in the Commonwealth.

New England Foundation for the Arts: $50,000 - The Mass Cultural Council continues its investment in the New England Foundation for the Arts, collaborating on mutually supportive activities that serve the citizens of Massachusetts and provide opportunities for Mass. artists, presenters, and communities to benefit from programs that serve the six New England states and beyond.

About the Massachusetts 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 a combination of grants, services, and advocacy for nonprofit cultural organizations, schools, communities, and artists. Mass Cultural Council's total budget for the current fiscal year is $15.7 million, which includes annual grants from the National Endowment for the Arts and other sources. For more information, please visit www.massculturalcouncil.org.

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