FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 30, 2017
Contact: Gregory Liakos, Communications Director, 617-858-2720
Mass Cultural Council Awards $870,000 to School Residencies
(Boston, MA) – The Mass Cultural Council will invest in more than 200 schools across the Commonwealth with grants to support quality learning experiences in the arts, humanities, and sciences for students of all ages.
Mass Cultural Council’s popular STARS Residencies connects artists and nonprofit cultural organizations with schools to provide creative learning experiences for students grades K-12. Examples include public murals that celebrate community identity, in-depth explorations of the environment, dance, music, and visual arts projects that deepen understanding of diverse cultural traditions. The residencies lift academic achievement while helping students build skills in creativity, collaboration, and critical thinking.
This year, Mass Cultural Council invested $870,000 in STARS, funding residencies in 212 schools and reaching 21,400 students. It is part of the agency’s broader, annual investment of more than $2 million in creative youth development and education in the arts, sciences, and humanities.
“Teachers across the Commonwealth continue to send a strong message: We want the arts and creativity in our schools,” said Anita Walker, Mass Cultural Council Executive Director. “We’re so excited to see the fruits of these new grants as teachers, artists, scientists, and our cultural partners work together to create rich, meaningful learning projects throughout the year.”
Last year’s STARS grants funded a range of exceptional learning projects, including: a 1,000-square-foot tile mosaic on immigration themes created by elementary school students in Lawrence; a multidisciplinary project focused on bird habitats with a school in Norwell working with Mass Audubon; and a play performed by Cambridge 3rd-graders with Underground Railway Theatre about the first American slave to win his freedom in the 18th century.
Demand for STARS grants continues to grow: Mass Cultural Council was unable to fund an additional 33 school projects because of limited funding. (The agency’s state appropriation was flat at $14 million this year, and it received a small cut in its annual grant from the National Endowment for the Arts.)
Besides STARS, Mass Cultural Council supports a range of creative youth development and education programs, including its nationally renowned YouthReach Initiative, which uses arts and culture to empower at-risk adolescents with skills and knowledge to help their transition to adulthood; SerHacer, the first public program in the US to support in-depth music education inspired by El Sistema; and Big Yellow School Bus grants that help schools fund field trips to cultural venues.
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. It pursues this mission through grants, services, and advocacy for nonprofit cultural organizations, schools, communities, and artists. Its FY18 budget is $15.7 million, which includes a $14 million state appropriation and grants from the National Endowment for the Arts and other sources. The Council also runs the Massachusetts Cultural Facilities Fund (CFF) in partnership with MassDevelopment, with a separate $10 million allocation from the state’s capital budget.