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State Senate Votes to Increase Arts & Cultural Funding by $1M

(May, 26, 2016) – The state Senate overwhelmingly approved a budget amendment today that would increase annual funding for the arts, humanities, and sciences through the Massachusetts Cultural Council (MCC) by $1 million.

The 37-1 vote to allocate $15 million for MCC followed an impassioned speech from Senator Eric Lesser of Longmeadow urging his colleagues to reverse proposed cuts to cultural funding in earlier state budget proposals. The cultural sector reaches every community, provides educational opportunity for tens of thousands of children, and produces $1.7 billion in economic activity, he said.

“Simply put, the arts are in our DNA and the fabric of our Commonwealth,” said Lesser, Co-Chair of the Joint Committee on Tourism, Arts, and Cultural Development. “When we invest in the arts, we invest in our future.”

Lesser’s original amendment garnered 25 cosponsors from both parties, more than half the Senate. It was embraced by Senate President Stan Rosenberg of Amherst and Senator Karen Spilka of Ashland, Chair of the Ways & Means Committee, both longtime arts champions.

“The Senate’s decisive vote to reinvest in the MCC amid intense demands on state resources is a vote of confidence in the work of the cultural sector,” said MCC Executive Director Anita Walker. “We are deeply grateful for the support they have demonstrated.”

Walker also praised Joint Committee Vice Chair Sen. Benjamin Downing of Pittsfield and Cultural Caucus Co-Chair Sen. Dan Wolf of Harwich, two outspoken proponents of the Lesser amendment, along with the Senators who supported them with today’s vote. She also thanked the many advocates who added their voices to this effort through campaigns led by MASSCreative, Mass Humanities, & the Mass Artists Leaders Coalition.

Read the Full Release.

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Senate Committee Proposes $13 Million for Arts, Humanities & Sciences in Latest Budget Plan

(May, 17, 2016) – The Senate Committee on Ways and Means released its version of next year’s state budget today, recommending $13 million for the arts, humanities, and sciences through the Massachusetts Cultural Council (MCC).

MCC currently receives $14 from the state to support its array of grant programs and services to the cultural sector. The Senate panel would thus reduce MCC’s budget by $1 million for Fiscal Year 2017, which begins July 1.

However, the plan released today is $1 million higher than that passed by the House last month that would cut arts and cultural funding through MCC by $2 million, to $12 million.

MCC seeks a budget of $17 million for the coming year. The agency and its advocates believe that modest new investments in its nonprofit cultural organizations, local cultural councils, and youth and community development programs, will more than pay off for the state in revenue and public benefit.

To that end, state Senator Eric Lesser of Longmeadow will file an amendment to the Ways & Means budget that would fund MCC at $17 million. Lesser is Senate Chair of the Joint Committee on Tourism, Arts, and Cultural Development. The full Senate will debate amendments to the budget starting next Tuesday.

Read the Full Release.

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House Majority Moves to Reverse Cuts, Increase Arts & Cultural Funding

(Apr. 27, 2016) – The state House of Representatives unanimously approved a budget amendment today that would cut funding for the arts, humanities, and sciences through the Massachusetts Cultural Council (MCC) by $2 million for the coming year.

The House approved a so-called “consolidated amendment” to fund the MCC at $12 million for Fiscal 2017, which begins July 1. MCC’s current state appropriation is $14 million.

If maintained through the budget process, that $2 million cut would reverse gains made in recent years to restore state cultural funding that had barely recovered from the depths of the recession, forcing MCC to cut grant amounts for its key programs.

House leaders rejected an amendment cosponsored by more than 100 state Representatives to instead increase arts and cultural funding to the $17 million level that MCC and its allies seek.

Read the Full Release.

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House Majority Moves to Reverse Cuts, Increase Arts & Cultural Funding

(Apr. 21, 2016) – A majority of the state House of Representatives has endorsed a budget amendment for the coming fiscal year that would increase arts and cultural funding through the Massachusetts Cultural Council (MCC) to $17 million. That would represent an increase of $3 million, or 21 percent, from current funding levels.

Close to 100 members of the House who signed onto Amendment #344 to the FY17 state budget are trying to reverse a large, proposed cut to MCC funding contained in a House Ways & Means Committee plan released last week. Cosponsors include legislators from communities across the state, Democrat and Republican. The full House is scheduled to begin debate on the budget Monday. After the House completes its work, the budget process moves to the Senate. The new fiscal year begins July 1.

“Thanks to all the advocates who have joined MASSCreative’s campaign to restore funding for the arts, humanities, and sciences,” said MCC Executive Director Anita Walker. “This is a key phase of the budget process in which we must show the House leadership that there is strong, statewide support for the incredible work that we do every day to make our Commonwealth a better place.”

Read the Full Release.

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House Committee Proposes Deep Cuts to Funding for Arts, Humanities & Sciences in Budget Plan

(Apr. 13, 2016) – The House Committee on Ways and Means today released a state budget proposal that recommends $10 million to support the arts, humanities, and sciences through the Massachusetts Cultural Council (MCC) for the coming fiscal year.

The MCC’s current budget is $14 million; in his FY17 budget released in January, the Governor proposed level funding.

The House Ways & Means proposal—a roughly 28 percent cut—would force reductions in MCC grants for nonprofit cultural organizations, local cultural councils, education and youth programs, and artist fellowships.

Read the Full Release.

Please contact your House member and ask him or her to support the Rep. Atkins Amendment for the Mass Cultural Council, line item 0640-030, and spread the word using #17inFY17. That amendment would fund MCC at $17 million for FY17.

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Governor's Budget Proposes Level Funding for Arts & Culture through the MCC

(Jan. 27, 2016) – Governor Charlie Baker today released a state budget proposal that would invest $14 million in the arts, humanities, and sciences through the Massachusetts Cultural Council (MCC) for the coming fiscal year. The Governor's budget plan for FY17 would fund arts and culture at current levels.

The MCC seeks a $17 million state appropriation, a $3 million increase, for FY17. MCC Executive Director Anita Walker said the agency will continue to make the case for that increase in concert with MASSCreative and its network of advocates across the state. As part of that effort, MCC has released new data on the benefits of arts and cultural funding to the state’s economy, communities, and the education of our young people – and what long-term reinvestment in its work can accomplish.

Read the Full Release.

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UPDATED: MCC's Case Statement for Increased Public Investment in Arts & Culture

Cover image for "It Works. Work It... We Make Creativity Work for Massachusetts"The Massachusetts Cultural Council (MCC) has released an update to its case statement on the benefits of arts and cultural funding to the state’s economy, communities, and the education of our young people – and what long-term reinvestment in MCC's work can accomplish. We will be sharing these updated figures with the Massachusetts legislature this budget season along with our FY17 budget request.

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It Works. Work It...
We Make Creativity Work for Massachusetts

 

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MCC FY17 Budget Request Totals $15 Million

The Massachusetts Cultural Council (MCC) seeks a state appropriation of $17 million for FY17, a $3 million increase from the current fiscal year. The agency will put these funds to work toward:

  • A healthy state economy that benefits from a robust nonprofit cultural sector, cultural tourism, and a creative workforce.
  • More vital, livable communities flourishing with arts and cultural activities accessible to all.
  • Young people who possess the knowledge, imagination, and creativity to succeed in school, careers, and civic life.
  • A cultural sector that opens its doors to young and old of all backgrounds, regardless of income or ability.

Read complete FY17 budget request (PDF).

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Learn More About Your State Elected Officials

Who are they? What are their priorities? How can arts and culture help them achieve their public policy goals?

Contact MCC's Greg Liakos to share your stories of how arts and culture are making your community a better place, or to request information or assistance.

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© Massachusetts Cultural Council 2016