FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 14, 2017
Contact: Gregory Liakos, Communications Director, 617-858-2720
Mass House Overrides Cut to Culture Funding; Senate Final Step in Process
(Boston, MA) – Yesterday the Massachusetts House of Representatives voted overwhelmingly to restore funding for the arts, humanities, and sciences through the Mass Cultural Council in the state budget.
Led by House Speaker Robert DeLeo of Winthrop and Ways & Means Committee Chair Jeffrey Sánchez of Boston, the House voted 137-14 to override the Governor’s veto and fund Mass Cultural Council at $14 million for Fiscal Year 2018, level with last year’s state appropriation. Governor Charlie Baker’s veto cut the arts and culture budget by 14 percent to just over $12 million. The Senate now must follow with its own, 2/3-majority vote to secure the override when it returns to formal sessions later this month.
“We’re immensely grateful to the House leadership and all the members who supported the arts, humanities, and sciences with their votes yesterday,” said Anita Walker, Mass Cultural Council Executive Director. “And thanks again to our advocates who joined MASSCreative, Mass Humanities, and the Mass Artists Leaders Coalition to ensure our voices were heard in this long budget debate. Cultural funding is as vital as ever as we seek ways to bring our communities together, understand our place in the world, and build prosperity and opportunity across the Commonwealth.”
Walker also thanked State Senator Adam Hinds of Pittsfield and Representative Cory Atkins of Concord for circulating a letter to their colleagues urging support for the override. The legislators are co-chairs of the Joint Committee on Tourism, Arts, and Cultural Development.
“There are few places in America as rich with culture as Massachusetts,” their letter stated. “From Boston to the Berkshires, from Cape Ann to Cape Cod, our state boasts an array of exceptional cultural organizations, beautiful and distinctive communities, and thousands of talented artists and educators. Mass Cultural Council nurtures this cultural life, so it is imperative that we continue to provide the agency with the necessary resources to continue the great work it does in the Commonwealth."
MASSCreative will continue to lead the statewide advocacy effort to urge the state Senate to support the override when it reconvenes in formal session. FY18 began July 1.
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 a combination of grants, services, and advocacy for nonprofit cultural organizations, schools, communities, and artists. The agency's total budget for this fiscal year is $15.7 million, which includes a state appropriation and grants from the National Endowment for the Arts and other sources. Mass Cultural Council also runs the Massachusetts Cultural Facilities Fund in partnership with MassDevelopment.