• The 2014 MALC challenge for the next Governor – Be a Champion of Arts, Culture, and the Creative Economy!

    by  • December 16, 2014 • Legislation, News, Policy, Positions

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    he Massachusetts Artists Leaders Coalition (MALC) is dedicated to empowering artists of allvisual arts, literary, performing, crafts, new media, etcdisciplines and promoting the arts, culture, and the creative economy throughout the Commonwealth. We work to ensure artists of all disciplines have a meaningful place at policy making tables at all levels of government.

    Please download our complete “challenge” list, as presented below (pdf).

    MALC is focused on the 2014 Massachusetts Governor’s race, however, it is our hope that all the candidates running for statewide office (Lt. Governor, Attorney General, and State Treasurer) will support and address the needs of artists of all disciplines, arts, culture, and the creative economy as an integral part of their policy platforms.

    We strongly urge every candidate to put forward not just talking points, but in-depth policy platforms for, not only our sector, but for all the sectors.

    We strongly urge every candidate to put forward not just talking points, but in-depth policy platforms for, not only our sector, but for all the sectors. It is critically important that the art and culture of all of the Commonwealth’s diverse and amazing populations are visible and strongly supported by the next administration. We anticipate several arts and culture questionnaires to be presented to the candidates by our colleagues in the creative sector. MALC has chosen to forego the questionnaire approach and simply and respectfully present the candidates with its vision of an integrated policy for our sector.

    MALC encourages all candidates for Governor to study the platform put forth by Boston Mayor Marty Walsh (pdf) during his successful campaign in 2013. Walsh presented an artist-centric arts, culture, and creative economy policy that was built on the foundation of cultural diplomacy and connected to the other policy areas throughout his platform (including, but not limited to, public safety, elder services, and housing). Mayor Walsh did not silo his arts policy as a part of his platform, but stipulated the ways in which arts are necessary to effective polices throughout his platform. We would like to see candidates for Governor take this approach to crafting their policy for our sector. We also encourage all candidates to read the Massachusetts Artists Foundation’s 2009 report on artists’“work lives, socioeconomic status, access to healthcare, and medical and non-medical debt”, Stand Up And Be Counted (pdf).

    MALC would also like the next Governor … to charge his or her chief of policy with the responsibility of integrating the arts, culture, and creative economy sector throughout all the policies and initiatives of their administration ….

    MALC would also like the next Governor of our state to charge his or her chief of policy with the responsibility of integrating the arts, culture, and creative economy sector throughout all the policies and initiatives of their administration and to also facilitate cross department and agency cooperation. This will help to ensure full integration and collaboration among all of the Commonwealth’s arts, culture, and creative economy programs and organizations with each other and will better enable the full integration of the entire arts, culture, and creative economy sector with all state agencies and programs. The chief of policy will empower our sector and provide the resources and  For example, the chief of policy could convene the Massachusetts Cultural Council, the Executive Office of Public Safety, the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, the Massachusetts Department of Youth Services, and the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education to develop needed policies and programs to address issues of public safety, trauma, and youth engagement via engaging artists and the arts.support for full integration.

    We would like to see candidates for Governor replicate Mayor Walsh’s “Artists First Initiative,” which seeks to address artists’ occupational health needs, issues around age discrimination, the need to better support mid-to late-career artists, supports artists from all backgrounds, professional development, affordable artist space, fair trade, and compensation. The Walsh platform positions City Hall as a true partner and advocate for artists. MALC would like to see candidates for Governor commit to making the state a true partner and advocate for artists as well.

    In short, we want the next Governor to be a champion for our entire sector.


    MALC believes that a serious arts, culture, and creative economy policy must address the following four key areas:
    1. Artists’ Rights, Artists Retention, and Ensuring the Commonwealth’s Artists Thrive
    2. Support and Fund Arts, Culture, and the Creative Economy
    3. Support and Fund Arts Education on All Levels and For All Ages
    4. Establish New and Needed Programs and Initiatives

    The four areas in more detail:

    (click on any sub-topic below to expand)

    1. Artists’ Rights, Artists’ Retention, And Ensuring The Commonwealth’s Artists Thrive

    a. Fair trade for artists of all disciplines
    The next Governor will work to ensure that the Commonwealth abides by “fair labor standards and that artists of all disciplines are not expected to provide their work or services for free, or well below the living wage, when engaging with the Commonwealth.” Whenever possible, the administration will also work to ensure that the private sector abides by fair labor standards when engaging with artists of any discipline and that any private entity contracting with or receiving money from the Commonwealth must abide by fair labor standards. Paramount is protecting all artists’ rights to their intellectual property.

    The next administration must also make sure that student artists’ labor is not used to undercut the labor market, including the practice of securing student artwork for free or via internships. Additionally, the administration should reform the art acquisition practices of charity auctions by adopting MALC’s recommended best practices. All candidates are encouraged to review MALC’s Fair Labor Recommendations.

    To better understand the dire need for fair labor standards within the creative workforce, we encourage all candidates to read the Massachusetts Artists Foundation’s 2009 report on artists’ “work lives, socioeconomic status, access to healthcare, and medical and non-medical debt,” Stand Up And Be Counted” (pdf).

    b. Support and participate in the Annual Artists Under the Dome Event at the State House
    MALC has created enduring partnerships with state legislators, constitutional office holders, and executive appointees. Our Annual Artists Under the Dome Event affords artists and government officials an opportunity to come together, highlight the work that has been done to advance the creative economy and artists’ rights, and build new connections. It is the only event of its kind in the country. All candidates are encouraged to read about our most recent event and commit to attending all Artists Under the Dome Events if elected governor.
    c. Reform the Independent Contractor Law to protect those who create intellectual property
    The Independent Contractor Law (ICL) protects workers from being misclassified as independent contractors and thus denied attendant benefits by their employers. This is commendable. However, since being amended in 2004, the ICL has made it difficult for Massachusetts-based artists of ALL disciplines to secure work as independent contractors. Customers have become fearful of violating the ICL if they hire artists to create intellectual property as independent contractors. Yet, when artists and others are hired as traditional employees, they lose all rights to the intellectual property they create.

    This is why intellectual property is at the heart of this issue. Artists, and many others, want to maintain control of their intellectual property and the way to do that is to work as an independent contractor. To its credit, the legislature has never intended to criminalize the hiring of artists as independent contractors and the office of the state’s Attorney General has never brought such charges. Still, the wording of the current ICL provides for such prosecution. MALC would like the next governor to support ICL reform that carves out an exemption for all those who 1) create intellectual property and 2) desire to be exempted from the ICL.

    d. Protect Artists’ Co-Op housing and all Co-Op housing
    MALC opposes legislative proposals that impose new “anti-discrimination” requirements on housing cooperative governance. In particular, MALC is deeply concerned about the undue burdens these requirements would place on limited equity coops, artists’ coops, and other coops that serve lower income residents.

    Housing cooperatives are already prohibited from discriminating under Chapter 151B. Recent anti co-op legislation has been disingenuous in its call to fight discrimination. Its true purpose is to disrupt appropriate housing cooperative governance. It is unclear how such new legislative language, if passed, would impact limited equity coops and tenants in coops with low incomes. However, deleterious effects would be certain.

    MALC would like to see the candidates for Governor stand in support of artists’ co-op housing and all co-op housing and to oppose any such changes to the Commonwealth’s Co-Op laws.

    e. Protect and create affordable artists’ live/work and work-only spaces
    MALC would like the candidates for Governor to embrace affordable housing live work spaces and work only spaces for artists of all disciplines and others who want to live/work within their vibrant communities. When artists are connected to the greater community via adequate transportation and access to retail space, cultural centers, and the agoras of our modern municipalities, it benefits the artists, all those who live creatively, and the full community.

    In particular, MALC would like the next Governor of our state to work with municipalities to incentivize making city and town-owned land available for the creation of affordable live/work spaces and work only spaces, fully consider the artists’ community and creative economy in all housing policy, and focus on planning initiatives that take into account the greater community’s access to artists’ work. MALC would also urge the Commonwealth to work with the artists’ community to create state-wide recommended standards/best practices for affordable artists’ live/work spaces and work-only spaces.

    Worth exploring are the possibilities of creating tax credit programs that incentivize the creation of artists space. One such tax credit program could be for the owners of facilities who donate their facilities to artists or the arts community for performance, display, work space and/or living space. The founding legislation will stipulate that the award of tax credits for the space donation will be based on the full compliance with “fair trade compensation” standards and when applicable the state-wide standards for affordable artists’ live/work and work-only spaces. The second program could be a tax credit program for developers and/or communities who wish to create permanent affordable artists’ live/work spaces and/or artists’ work-only spaces for rent and/or to purchase. Tax credits will be awarded based on the entities’ full compliance with the state-wide standards for affordable artists’ live/work and work-only spaces.

    Important state agency collaborators for this effort are: The Massachusetts Cultural Council, the Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development, the Creative Economy Council, etc.

    f. Address the issue of exploitation of adjunct professors in both the Commonwealth’s and private sector’s college and university systems
    Adjunct professors represent a highly skilled sector of the workforce, with all of them having at least a Master’s degree and many having a PhD. Yet their work is not appropriately valued and compensated within our institutions of higher education. Adjunct professors make up more than half of all college faculty in the country.* They are treated as disposable commodities by both state and private colleges and universities.

    Adjunct professors are paid by the class (at low rates). They are not afforded any benefits (as if they were independent contractors), yet at the same time are denied their intellectual property rights (because they are classified as employees). MALC would like to see the candidates for Governor commit to stopping this injustice. State universities and colleges must be directed to create a just system for hiring and employing adjunct professors. Private colleges and universities, many of which receive state money, must be encouraged to do the same.

    *Huffington Post, 11/1/13

    g. State tax deduction credits for artists when they donate their work
    Artists are always in demand to donate work to various causes and institutions. Charity art auctions are one way for organizations to raise money to fund their important work, to build awareness of that work, and to connect the greater community to that work through the medium of art. Unfortunately, artists are not allowed to deduct the fair market value of their donated work on their state taxes (or on their federal taxes). Artists can only deduct the materials costs of producing the work. MALC would like the candidates for Governor to commit to supporting state tax deduction credits for artists when they donate their work. This would promote artists’ rights and demonstrate on the margin the state’s value of artists, art, charity art auctions, and the great social and community work being done by non-profit and other organizations. Again we also urge the adoption of MALC’s best practices for charity auctions.
    h. Establish a disaster emergency aid fund for Massachusetts artists of all disciplines
    MALC would like the candidates for Governor to commit to establishing a specific state fund within the State Treasurer’s office to provide disaster and emergency aid for Massachusetts artists working in all disciplines. Such a fund would help artists who are dealing with a health care emergency (such as inability to pay medical bills or medical insurance), fire, floods, theft, as well as other natural or man made disasters. Senate Bill 1625 is the legislative template for this needed fund.

    Important state collaborators for this effort are: The Massachusetts Cultural Council and the Treasurer’s Office.

    i. Commit to the passage of the Right of Publicity legislation
    Massachusetts artists of all disciplines are in need of intellectual property protection in regard to controlling the use of their image, namesake, and “brand” in advertising and in other commercial uses while they are alive and for their estate/legacy. If an individual or corporate entity intends to profit from an artist’s image and/or brand, that individual or entity must appropriately compensate the artist or his or her estate.

    MALC would like the candidates for Governor to commit to passing Right of Publicity legislation that would prevent the theft of intellectual property from artists who have worked so hard to produce it. Senate Bill 1630 provides the needed legislative language for this needed protection.

    j. Appoint artists of all disciplines to governmental boards, advisory boards, and working groups in all sectors, not just in the arts
    MALC would like the candidates for Governor to integrate their arts and culture policy with all the policies within their platform. One way to achieve this is to commit to appointing artists of all disciplines to state boards, advisory boards and working groups in all sectors. Having artists directly involved with public safety, housing, and elder issues (as well as other areas of policy) will ensure the artists’ community and the arts, culture and the creative sector is represented throughout all policy discussions, will help to ensure that the positive benefits of art and culture are woven into to all the state’s policies areas and that the greater community gets the most out of its state government.
    k. Work with the Walsh Administration to expand its proposed occupational wellness program for artists of all disciplines
    The Walsh Administration pledged to create an occupational wellness program for Boston’s artists of all disciplines. MALC encourages the next Governor to collaborate with the Walsh Administration to replicate this city model, once it is up and running, on a statewide basis.

    Important state agency collaborators for this effort are: The Massachusetts Cultural Council, Executive Office of Public Health and Human Services, Department of Public Health, MassHealth, and the Massachusetts Health Connector Authority.

    l. Address the age bias in the sector and work to better support the Commonwealth’s master artists of all disciplines
    MALC would like the next Governor to adopt state-wide the model the Walsh Administration has promised to create for supporting Boston’s master artists of all disciplines. The lack of support for this population was a key issue that surfaced in the Massachusetts Artists Foundation’s 2009 report on artists’ “work lives, socioeconomic status, access to healthcare, and medical and non-medical debt,” Stand Up And Be Counted (pdf). We recommended that the Governor task the Executive Office of Elder Affairs to work with the MCC and our master artists to create ways to support “mid- to late-career artists by addressing the age bias in our sector,  promote ways to support these artists to continue creating work, support the mentorship of master artists to future artists, to assist older artists in establishing estate legacy plans for their creative work”* and to ensure that all public elder housing also supports any master artist living in them.

    Important state agency collaborators for this effort are: The Massachusetts Cultural Council, the Executive Office of Elderly Affairs, the Executive Office of Public Health and Human Services, etc.

    *Quote from Martin J. Walsh’s Arts & Culture mayoral campaign platform

    m. Ensure that the Commonwealth’s workforce development and small business policies and programs include artists of all disciplines and artist-run businesses, organizations, and projects.
    MALC urges the next Governor and their administration to mandate that all of the Commonwealth’s workforce and small business policies and programs include artists and artists’ run businesses, organizations, and projects. Artists and their creativity are the main labor source behind the arts and culture sector. Many artists earn self-employment income, are self-employed, and/or run their own businesses, organizations, and projects. They would greatly benefit from workforce and professional development programs, learning how to negotiate contracts, state requirements and regulations, etc.

    Important state agency collaborators for this effort are: The Massachusetts Cultural Council, the Creative Economy Council, the Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development, the Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development, Massachusetts Office of Business Development and more.

    n. Use Modified Adjusted Gross Income (MAGI) when legally possible for all need based programs
    MALC urges the next administration to use MAGI when legally possible for all need based programs in the Commonwealth. This is the measure used by the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and it is the best way to assess income.

    The Massachusetts Artists Foundation’s 2009 report on artists’ “work lives, socioeconomic status, access to healthcare, and medical and non-medical debt,” Stand Up And Be Counted, provided “data about a newly-identified population that surfaced during the implementation of the Massachusetts health care reform law: those with combination income. When individuals are assessed for income- and need-based programs they are typically asked if they are an employee (and if they have W-2 income) or if they are self employed (usually defined as having non W-2 income).” (p. 5) and “that Nearly half (49.4%) of the 3,125 artists who answered the question reported that they had combination income; one-quarter (23.8%) reported that they were fully self-employed, and just over one-fifth (19.7%) reported that were salaried employees/had W-2 income only.” (p. 11)

    The report further stated, “Individuals who have hard to determine income, such as artists, do not always fit into either category. In fact, nearly half (49%) of the 3,125 respondents who answered the question about their source of income reported that they derive income as employees and as the self-employed. It is important to note that those who derive their income from combination sources face unique obstacles when applying for income- and need-based programs such as subsidized health care, leading, in practice, to discrimination against them in provision of service. For example, during recovery efforts following Hurricane Katrina, the National Coalition for Artists’ Preparedness and Emergency Response discovered that artists who had combination income sources often times did not qualify for relief programs provided by Federal Emergency Management Agency and the Small Business Administration. This “combination income” category of individuals, which also impacts farmers, fisherman, entrepreneurs, and small business owners is beginning to gain recognition as worthy of attention in policy discussions.” (p. 5-6)

    2. Support And Fund Arts, Culture, And The Creative Economy

    a. Increase and stabilize funding for the Massachusetts Cultural Council (MCC)
    The MCC is currently working to rebuild its budget. It hopes to add $5 million, thus getting its budget up to $16 million, which is only 75 percent of the $19.1 million it was in 2002 before being cut. The MCC also hopes to reauthorize the Cultural Facilities Fund in the next 5-year bond, allocating $75 million over 5 years. To make things more complex, the MCC is not solely funded through the state’s General Fund, as it rightfully should be. It is forced to rely on money from MassDevelopment, a quasi-public agency. This is not a sustainable long term funding mechanism.

    MALC would like the candidates for Governor to commit to dramatically increasing the budget of the MCC and to stabilize its funding by moving past its $19.1 million 2002 funding level and allocating all of its funding directly from the General Fund.

    b. Allocate money for the Cultural Facilities Fund
    The Cultural Facilities Fund allows nonprofit arts and cultural organizations to seek competitive grants from an annual fund for maintenance and new construction. Governor Deval Patrick has proposed tripling the budget for this fund to $15 million. MALC would like the candidates for Governor to commit to funding the Cultural Facilities Fund at $15 million per year.
    c. Grow the creative economy, support the work of the Creative Economy Council (CEC), the newly founded Creative Economy Network, and dedicate funding to this sector
    The Creative Economy Council (CEC) was created by Governor Deval Patrick in 2008. It is an advisory council to the state legislature and the Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development. “Its legislated purpose is to develop a statewide strategy for the enhancement, encouragement, and growth of the creative economy in Massachusetts, and to promoting through public and private means responsive public policies and innovative private sector practices.” The council has been a strong voice for the arts and culture sector. MALC would like the CEC to not only remain in place under the next governor well past its 2016 sunset, but to also receive needed funding for its important work. It is key that the next administration also support the newly formed Creative Economy Network that is under the CEC and the work of the Creative Economy Industry Director.
    d. Fully support the state’s library system
    Our municipal libraries are on the front lines of culture. They are places of true democracy where anyone from any background (socioeconomic, racial, ethnic, age etc.) can access worlds of information. They are centers of community and thus perfect places to advance the arts and culture. They are often overlooked in arts and culture policy discussions and they do not get the funding they deserve. MALC would like the next Governor of our state to focus on fully funding our Commonwealth’s library system.

    Important state collaborators for this effort are: Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners and the Massachusetts Library System.

    e. Preserve and enhance the state’s film tax credits program, support the state’s film office and grow the film sector
    Film making is a lucrative international industry. Massachusetts has a highly competitive film tax incentive program that has made our state an attractive place for filming major motion pictures. Film production companies that qualify are eligible for a sales & use tax exemption, a transferable 25% payroll credit, and a transferable 25% production expense.* Not only do film productions bring money into our state, they also serve as free publicity for the municipalities and neighborhoods in which they film.

    This program also benefits our small independent filmmakers as also eligible:

    •  Production company that spends at least $50,000 in total production costs in MA during a consecutive 12-month period
    • Accredited film school students

    Through a competitive film tax incentive program, our state has established itself as a location for the filming of both major motion pictures and smaller and locally created independent films. Additionally, production companies have begun building studio spaces in Massachusetts, thereby investing in having a permanent economic presence in our state. Massachusetts is poised to become the Hollywood and the Sundance of the East. This is not just great for the state’s coffers and its marketing initiatives, it serves local writers, actors, and film makers who wish to do serious independent film work in their home state.

    MALC would like the candidates for Governor to commit to preserving our competitive film tax incentive program and exploring any and all ways to enhance our edge over other states and nations. The next Governor of our state must direct his or her administration to work closely with the Massachusetts Production Coalition, the New England Local SAG-AFTRA, and the Boston Musicians’ Association to grow the film sector as much as possible. The next administration needs to fully fund and support the state’s film office and also needs to work with the state’s entire education system to grow a state base film industry workforce in order to grow the film sector further.

    *MA Film Office

    f. Grow the state’s digital game sector
    Massachusetts has a strong digital game industry presence. It employs more than 2,000 residents directly, providing high paying jobs ($90,000 per year on average) which represents a yearly payroll of over $200 million.* Our state also has vibrant digital video game design programs at some of its top colleges and universities. MALC would like to see the candidates for Governor commit to incentivizing the digital game industry in a way similar to what it has done with the film industry, promote the development of digital game design programs within the state college and university program, and facilitate cooperation between the industry and academia.

    *Boston Globe, 9/17/12

    g. Increase funding for Mass Humanities
    Mass Humanities is a state-based affiliate that receives partial funding from the MCC. It “supports programs that use history, literature, philosophy, and the other humanities disciplines to enhance and improve civic life throughout the Commonwealth.” Mass Humanities is one of the most effective groups that cultivates and promotes the humanities. A core part of its mission is to “reach those whose access to the humanities has been limited due to social, economic, educational, or geographic circumstances.” MALC would like the candidates for Governor to commit to an increase in funding for Mass Humanities. This investment will serve the state well as Mass Humanities draws together funding from the federal government and private donors, and maximizes its use through targeted funding of projects that promote collaboration between humanities organizations while having a positive social impact.
    h. Highlight the arts, culture, and the creative sector in all tourism promotion
    Massachusetts is known for its lighthouses, lobsters, sports teams, island retreats, and microbreweries. MALC believes our state must also be known for its arts, culture, and creative sector. We would like to see the candidates for governor commit to directing all tourism promotion to include the appeal of our artists’ community and arts community in all its diversity. Massachusetts should be known as a great place to attend the theatre, to buy art, and take in a rock show as much as it is known as a great place to grab a bowl of chowder and take in the Red Sox. It is also very important that the art and culture of all of the Commonwealth’s diverse and amazing populations are visible and are strongly promoted.

    Important state agency collaborators for this effort are: The Massachusetts Cultural Council, the Creative Economy Council, the Massachusetts Office of Travel and Tourism, and the Massachusetts Office of International Trade and Investment.

    i. Fully support the state’s Cultural Districts program with resources and funding
    The MCC has done an amazing job launching its Cultural Districts program throughout the state. Several municipalities have created these districts and several more are exploring creating them. They are “a specific geographical area in a city or town that has a concentration of cultural facilities, activities, and assets. It is a walkable, compact area that is easily identifiable to visitors and residents and serves as a center of cultural, artistic and economic activity.” The beauty of the cultural districts is that each one is unique, yet they all promote culture, community, and economic activity. MALC would like the candidates for governor to commit to providing funding and other resources to the Cultural District program, so that any interested municipality may create one and have the needed resources to make it thrive.
    j. Fund historic preservation in addition to the Cultural Facilities Fund
    The Massachusetts Historical Commission (MHC) works to “establish our sense of place and to define the very character of our communities” through its designation of historic properties in the state. For more than 50 years the MHC has protected the “important historical and archaeological assets of the Commonwealth.” Part of our state’s brand competitiveness is its participation in the birth and growth of the country. We have the properties to prove it, from revolutionary era churches and houses utilized by the Underground Railroad, to the widow walks of whaling communities and the original structures of our state government. Massachusetts is known as a gem for tourists and we must preserve that history for tourists, as well as our own residents, to enjoy and reflect upon. MALC would like the candidates for Governor to prioritize funding of the MHC.
    k. Ensure that the Gateway Cities initiatives integrate artists, arts, culture and the creative economy through out all policy areas
    The Gateway Cities Innovation Institute is a tremendous program. It is transitioning our post industrial cities into the embracing of all the 21st Century has to offer. Artists of all disciplines, the arts, culture, and the creative economy must be a part of its work. MALC would like the candidates for Governor to commit to factoring in the needs of artist/artisan communities relative to the goals of Gateway Cities and bring economists, architects, city planners and city officials, builders, and artist leaders together at the same table to create affordable and sustainable artists live/work space and Cultural District models within the Gateway Cities. We would like to see full integration of our sector into all Gateway Cities’ policy areas (public safety, education, elder affairs, public health, etc.)
    l. Make it easier for state owned buildings and properties to be utilized by our sector
    We encourage the Commonwealth to make it much easier for artists of all disciplines and the arts community to utilize state-owned buildings and properties for cultural programming and events (this includes the holdings of Department of Recreation and Conservation (DCR, MBTA, Massport, etc..) We suggest waiving the needed insurance and/or the state securing a blanket insurance policy to cover the use by our sector for free public events. The state must make it easy for those wishing to use these holdings via an accessible web portal that clearly indicates who they need to contact, the needed forms (which should be possible to fill out and submit on line), etc. All associated permitting and needed security fees/insurance should be streamlined and be free if possible for free public events.
    m. Extend high-speed internet to every corner of the Commonwealth
    High-speed internet access is still needed in so many cities and towns in the Commonwealth. The next Governor must address this issue head on if our state is to be competitive on a global level in the 21st century.

    3. Support And Fund Arts Education On All Levels And For All Ages

    a. Support for STEM to STEAM in all state education programs and initiatives
    The 20th century push for STEM science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) is now outdated for the 21st century. MALC wants to add Art to the mix, not because it’s nice, but because it’s necessary. All Massachusetts youth deserve the chance to discover their individual passion and creative talents. It can literally be a life-changing experience. In order to properly prepare our future generations to be innovative critical thinkers, we must move to STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art, and mathematics). Art and design belong at the same table as the STEM disciplines. Creativity, problem solving skills and critical thinking skills learned from studying art and design are essential to fostering innovation. These are life skills all individuals need to succeed. These skill sets are also needed for the 21st century workforce and are key to growing our creative economy, life sciences, our innovation economy and so much more. Countless studies have shown the need to move in this direction and one of our Country’s biggest competitors, China, has already made this change.*

    House Bill 2994 starts to move the Commonwealth from STEM to STEAM.

    MALC would also like the candidates for Governor to familiarize themselves with the important work of Arts|Learning (A|L) and MASSCreative.

    In particular, MALC would like the candidates for Governor to commit to A|L’s agenda of preparing students for life in the 21st century “through the arts as a central, unifying factor.”

    Both A|L & MASSCreative advocate for high quality arts education and youth arts programs for every young person in Massachusetts.

    • Support one year of high school arts education as an admission requirement to the Massachusetts state university system, while ensuring access for students from low-income communities. Ensure quality arts education for all kids in Massachusetts by including one year of high school arts education as a requirement for admission to the state’s university system.
    • Encourage investment in arts and cultural programs that benefit under-resourced youth and youth in need.

    *  http://steam-notstem.com/ & http://stemtosteam.org/ 

    b. Increase funding for arts in schools
    MALC would like the next Governor to also commit to robustly funding all the arts in our K-12 public school systems, and in our state college and university system. Our students must be given access to culturally inclusive and comprehensive arts education starting at an early age and progressing through high school. Arts education must also be an integral part of our upper levels of education. College and university students must have access to art as a viable degree.
    c. Support and fund the Massachusetts College of Art and Design
    The Massachusetts College of Art & Design is the only state-funded art and design school in the nation. For almost 100 years the college has proudly trained “professional artists, designers, and architects.” The college works to “envision all that is possible and strives to reach it.” The college is also focused on ensuring that students from low-income and/or underserved backgrounds are able to attend. This is of paramount importance to students who are the first ones in their families to attend college. It has given our state a competitive edge in attracting artists from around the country and the world. Continuing to fund this world-renowned institution will have an immense return on investment for the state.
    d. Continue funding arts education communities, community centers, libraries, elder centers
    Our state is blessed to have tremendous centers of community throughout its municipalities. Our elder centers, libraries, youth centers, athletic centers, community centers, and colleges and universities constantly provide space and programming for residents throughout our society. These are the perfect places to fund and implement arts education programs. These gathering places are already doing the work of sustaining diverse communities. Adding dedicated arts education programing to the mix will enhance the lives of millions of residents and do so in a fiscally efficient manner for the state.
    e. Support full integration, inclusion, and access for all residents
    The Massachusetts Cultural Council (MCC) and its Local Cultural Council program are committed to diversity and inclusion. All communities, not just wealthy ones, deserve access to affordable arts. More funding is required, however, for the MCC to more effectively implement its philosophy of inclusion on the ground in our communities. The next Governor would be wise to work with the MCC to consider new ways to support and elevate the arts, crafts, and traditions of the Commonwealth’s diverse and culturally rich communities. MALC would also like to see the next Governor direct his or her administration to work closely with colleges and universities, non-profits, and corporate entities to fully integrate inclusion and access to arts for all residents.
    f. Support the Commonwealth’s teaching artists
    The Commonwealth’s teaching artists deserve support and more opportunities. MALC recommends streamlining some of the teaching requirements for teaching artists to be able to go into the schools to be visiting artists and teach short term classes or courses without needing a full teaching certificate. The Commonwealth should also create opportunities for these artists to teach in other settings such as the health care system, elder programs, public housing, public safety programs (DYS programs, recovery programs, and in our prison system), in our state parks, etc. The MCC’s STARS residency program should be funded and expanded as part of this effort.

    4. Establish New Needed Programs and Initiatives, Such As But Not Limited To:

    a. Fund a state poet laureate position
    Massachusetts has been home to many renowned poets, including Elizabeth Bishop, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Emily Dickinson, Jack Kerouac, and Anne Sexton. Yet the state has no poet laureate. MALC would like to see the candidates for Governor commit to rectifying this. Creating a poet laureate position would empower the literary community, inspire our youth to embrace the written word in its full complexity, and position the state as a beacon for poets and writers. This needs to be a funded program and should not expect the poet laureate to be unpaid. The federal poet laureate program is one model to look at.

    House Bill 2229 is a great model, but does not fund the position.

    Important state agency collaborators for this effort are: The Massachusetts Cultural Council, the Department of Education, and the State Library System, to name a few.

    b. Bring back the percent for public art program
    MALC would like to see the candidates for governor commit to fund art in public spaces (such as, but not limited to, commercial developments and the MBTA system). This can be effectively and efficiently done through a “percent for public art” program, which would establish a minimal fee on mid to large scale development projects. MALC would like the next Governor to establish a statewide percent for public art program and support any municipality that seeks state approval for its own such program.

    House Bill 3000 has started the conversation and is worth reading.

    Important state agency collaborator for this effort is: The Massachusetts Cultural Council.

    c. Create a cultural diplomacy program for the Commonwealth
    Massachusetts is one of the leading states in our nation. If our state were a member nation of the European Union, it would rank extremely high for its k-12 education outcomes, access to healthcare, and presence of elite universities and cultural centers. Our state deserves to stand tall on the national and international stages. MALC would like the next governor to direct the state to build relationships with our artists, our arts organizations, our growing the film sector, with other cities and states throughout America, and ultimately with cities and nations around the world. For example, artists could represent the Commonwealth and take information about Massachusetts to other states and countries. These promotional tools and materials, could be jointly created by state agencies like MOTT and the MCC. The state could also help by leveraging its contacts in other states and countries for artists that could lead to showcasing the work of our artists outside of Massachusetts. Long term, the state could create a Touring Artists & Travel Grant Program that would help fund artists to perform/present in other states and countries.

    Important state agency collaborators for this effort are: The Massachusetts Cultural Council, the Creative Economy Council, the Massachusetts Office of Travel and Tourism, and the Massachusetts Office of International Trade and Investment.

    d. Rebrand the Commonwealth
    Massachusetts has countless features as a place to live, work, and create art. From higher education to high tech, surgical experts to seaside retreats, exciting sports to literary greatness, there truly is something for everyone in our state. However, in our fast-paced, digital world, our state needs to take itself seriously as an enterprise and do the deep dive into its “unique value proposition.” It must rebrand itself for a new world in order to compete at the highest of levels. MALC would like the next governor of our state to embrace a rebranding initiative, drawing on the talents of our creative sector, especially our marketing experts. MALC would also want the Commonwealth to work with the artists’ community on any efforts to “re- brand” the state’s image in a way that highlights the contributions of the artists community through stories, demonstrations, and other means.

    Important state agency collaborators for this effort are: The Massachusetts Cultural Council, the Creative Economy Council, the Massachusetts Office of Travel and Tourism, and the Massachusetts Office of International Trade and Investment.

    e. Launch a ‘Created in Massachusetts‘ campaign
    It is fashionable (and morally appropriate) to buy locally produced food, beverages, and clothing. MALC would like the next Governor’s administration to embrace promoting the purchase and patronage of Massachusetts-based arts, culture, and creative economy products, events, and programs by not only Massachusetts residents, but also on national and international levels. When Massachusetts residents favor the our state’s creative sector, it improves working conditions in existing jobs, creates new jobs, and gives our sector a competitive edge in attracting purchase and patronage from around the country and around the world.

    The campaign must support and promote open studios, artist run spaces, alternative art spaces, non-profit art spaces, and co-op galleries. Commercial contemporary art galleries deserve special attention. Far too often they are overlooked, yet the commercial gallery sector is filled with micro and small businesses. Many act as key income streams for our state’s artists. Visibility must also be given to the other businesses that sell work by our artists and craftspeople, the craft/art fairs, and the farmer’s markets that feature the work of Massachusetts artists and craftspeople. Our art collectors, businesses, and collecting institutions should be encouraged to support this initiative in every way possible.

    Important state agency collaborators for this effort are: The Massachusetts Cultural Council, the Creative Economy Council, the Massachusetts Office of Travel and Tourism, and the Massachusetts Office of International Trade and Investment.


    MALC looks forward to sharing our platform and meeting with the candidates running for governor and statewide office. We are excited and heartened by all the great candidates running for public office.

    A democracy only works when the citizens take an active part in it!


    About

    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.