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May 24, 2018

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

Senate Budget Plan Would Boost Cultural Funding by $2M

(Boston, MA) – Last night the state Senate endorsed a budget amendment calling for a $2 million increase in funding for the arts, humanities, and sciences through the Mass Cultural Council.

That FY19 budget would fund Mass Cultural Council at $16 million, a 15 percent increase for state support of the nonprofit cultural sector. It is $1.5 million above the budget plan approved by the House of Representatives last month. The two chambers must now reconcile their respective plans through a budget conference committee before the new fiscal year begins July 1.

The overwhelming support in the Senate was due to strong institutional leadership and a vigorous, statewide, grassroots advocacy campaign, said Anita Walker, Mass Cultural Council Executive Director.

The amendment was authored by Sen. Adams Hinds of Pittsfield, Co-Chair of the Joint Committee on Tourism, Arts, and Cultural Development. Originally calling for $17 million for Mass Cultural Council, it eventually drew more than 20 cosponsors, Democrats and Republicans. Like many amendments it was redrafted during budget debate, then given a green light by Senate President Harriette Chandler of Worcester, and Ways & Means Committee Chair Karen Spilka of Ashland.

“We know through the Cultural Council we've seen a major investment in arts and sciences and ... the return to our communities,” Hinds told his Senate colleagues during that debate, according to State House News Service. “I've watched how arts revitalized our downtowns.”

Walker thanked Hinds for his leadership and his Senate colleagues for their support. She also praised the work of MASSCreative for leading the advocacy effort with help from Mass Humanities, Mass Artists Leaders Coalition, and advocates in communities across the Commonwealth.

“An additional $2 million will make a real difference to our nonprofits, local cultural councils, artists, and education programs,” she said. “We’ll continue to make our best case through the conference process and beyond, on behalf of the cultural community we are so proud to represent.”

The conference committee will be the next key step in the annual state budget process before the two chambers vote on a final plan that then goes back to the Governor for his approval and/or vetoes.

See our Advocacy Action Center for updates on the budget process and for the latest data on the nonprofit cultural sector’s contributions to the Massachusetts economy and quality of life

About the Mass Cultural Council
The Mass Cultural Council is a state agency that promotes excellence, access, education, and diversity in the arts, humanities, and sciences, to improve our quality of life and contribute to the vitality of our communities. The agency pursues this mission through grants, services, and advocacy for nonprofit cultural organizations, schools, communities, and artists. Its FY18 budget is $15.7 million, supported through a $14 million state appropriation and grants from the National Endowment for the Arts and other sources. Mass Cultural Council also runs the $10 million Massachusetts Cultural Facilities Fund in partnership with MassDevelopment.

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