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

    by  • May 28, 2016 • DIYA, Legislation, News

    Please read the Massachusetts Cultural Council’s recent press release highlighting some of  the hard work and passionate persuasion involved in successfully moving the Senate to fund the MCC to $15 million.

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

    May 26, 2016
    (Boston, MA) – 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.

    The Senate must now reconcile its FY17 budget proposal with that of the House, which recommended $12 million for MCC in the plan it passed last month. MCC’s current state appropriation is $14 million.

    In June, House and Senate leaders will select members of a conference committee that will work out budget differences before bringing a final plan back to their respective chambers, then to the Governor for his approval. Walker urged advocates to stay engaged to ensure the Senate budget figure is maintained through the conference process. The new fiscal year begins July 1.

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

    About the Massachusetts Cultural Council

    The MCC 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 MCC’s total budget for this fiscal year is $15.7 million, which includes a $14 million state appropriation and grants from the National Endowment for the Arts. The MCC also runs the Massachusetts Cultural Facilities Fund in partnership with MassDevelopment.

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    The goal of the Massachusetts Artists Leaders Coalition (MALC) is to ensure that Massachusetts artists of all disciplines have a voice in public dialogs, decisions, and key public policy initiatives that impact the artists community and the creative economy. MALC works to ensure that artists have a permanent place at the policy making table.