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October 3, 2017

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

New Plan Invests more than $12M in Commonwealth’s Culture

(Boston, MA) – The Mass Cultural Council today released a spending plan for the new fiscal year that will invest more than $12 million in programs and initiatives that drive economic growth and opportunity, elevate the quality of life in communities, embrace accessibility and inclusion, and empower a new generation through education and creative youth development.

The agency’s FY18 spending plan rests upon a $14 million state appropriation recently restored by the Legislature to last year’s levels with overwhelming support. Supporters were buoyed by a new report showing the Massachusetts nonprofit cultural sector fuels $2.6 billion in annual economic activity, provides more than 73,000 jobs, and returns $159 million in tax revenue to the state and its communities.

“Thanks to strong legislative and community support, Mass Cultural Council is putting a down payment on a new plan to unleash the power of culture in communities across the Commonwealth,” said Anita Walker, Executive Director. “By investing in our cultural life, we are investing in our shared future.”

The plan was unanimously approved in August by the appointed members of the Mass Cultural Council pending the outcome of the veto overrides. Highlights include:

Nonprofit Cultural Organizations: $4.7 million - The Cultural Investment Portfolio (CIP) comprises more than 300 nonprofit arts, humanities, and science organizations across Massachusetts. These organizations connect children and adults to theatre, music, visual art, & film; teach them about history, literature, and the environment; and introduce them to new languages and cultural traditions. These grants must be matched one to one, and range from $2,500 to $56,500. See FY18 CIP funding list. Other investments in nonprofits include grants in our UP Inclusive Design Initiative and funding for DataArts to help organizations collect and analyze their financial health and that of the sector.

Communities: $3.3 million – More than $3 million will go to 329 Local Cultural Councils (LCCs) make up the nation’s largest public grassroots arts support network. They provide funding to every community in Massachusetts through the efforts of more than 2,500 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 FY18 LCC allocations. A new $100,000 will be set aside for a third year of  grants for community Festivals, and $75,000 for newly designated Cultural Districts. We will pilot a new Cultural Compact with select communities to set a framework for creative partnerships in cities and towns that elevate culture’s role in key community development initiatives. And finally, we will launch a new Mass Cultural Council Institute to elevate professional expertise and knowledge for practitioners working at the intersection of culture and community development.

Creative Youth Development & Education: $2.2 million – Mass Cultural Council works to expand access to quality, creative learning experiences for young people in school and community settings through:

  • YouthReach, which supports nonprofit organizations that provide in-depth arts, humanities, and science programs for young people at risk. See FY18 YouthReach funding list.
  • SerHacer, supporting intensive, ensemble-based programs that use music as a vehicle for youth development and social change. Through grants and technical assistance, Mass Cultural Council fosters this emerging field of music education across the Commonwealth. See FY18 funding list.
  • STARS Residencies connect artists and creative educators in the humanities and sciences with elementary and secondary schools with 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, a national competition in which high school students perform classic and contemporary poems while exploring elements of slam poetry, spoken word, and theatre in their English and drama classes. The Huntington Theatre Co. has expanded Poetry Out Loud to more than 50,000 Massachusetts students each school year. It is funded with a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA).

Mass Humanities: $526,000 –an annual partnership grant to Mass Humanities, which supports public programs in history, literature, and other humanities disciplines to enhance civic life across the Commonwealth.
Artist Fellowships: $441,000 – For more than four decades, Mass Cultural Council has supported working artists through its Artist Fellowships. This year we will fund fellowships in the following disciplines: Drawing & Printmaking, Poetry, Choreography, Fiction/Creative Nonfiction, and Painting, and Traditional Arts.

Services for Artists and Cultural Organizations: $1 million - Mass Cultural Council will also continue to fund a range of services to the nonprofit cultural sector, including HireCulture, a free, creative employment job site; support for artists via SpaceFinder Mass, a directory of creative spaces for rent in Massachusetts, the ArtSake blog, Gallery@MCC, research and programming in the Folk & Traditional Arts; the Creative Minds Out Loud podcast for arts and culture nerds; training and technical assistance for nonprofits and local cultural councils; and marketing and promotion via partnerships with public media.

New England Foundation for the Arts: $50,000 - We renew our investment in the New England Foundation for the Arts, through mutually supportive activities that serve the citizens of Massachusetts and provide opportunities for Mass. artists, presenters, and communities.

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.


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