Great news! The budget released today by the Massachusetts Senate Ways and Means Committee recommends an 18 percent INCREASE to the Commonwealth’s investment in the arts and cultural community by funding the Massachusetts Cultural Council (MCC) at $16.5 million. This is a $2.5 million increase from the $14 million budgeted for the Massachusetts Cultural Council last year in FY2017.
This recommended increase in investment to the MCC is a promising stamp of validation to the work the creative sector does to build vibrant, healthy, and equitable communities across Massachusetts. This increase is an even stronger indication of the impact the creative community has made on the Legislature over the past several months.
In March, 600 arts and cultural supporters marched to the State House on Arts Matter Advocacy Day to rally for more public investment in arts and culture. In April, when the House released their version of the State Budget, arts advocates sent over 1,000 emails securing bipartisan support from 116 State Representatives – a supermajority – onto a state budget amendment to increase state arts funding to $16 million.
As the budget makes its way to the Senate floor for a vote next week, State Senators need to hear that their constituents support the $16.5 million recommendation.
We thank Senate President Stan Rosenberg and the Senate Ways and Means Committee for choosing to step up, not cut, its investment in the arts and cultural sector. At a time when the Culture Wars have been revived in Washington, and President Trump proposed to eliminate the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities, we welcome and appreciate this leadership in showing that arts and culture are public goods worthy of state investment.
Help rally support for the Senate’s recommendation to increase state funding for arts and culture. Invite your networks to take action by using our toolkit.
P.S. After the Senate votes on their version of the budget next week, the process will move on to a joint House and Senate Conference Committee, and then the Governor’s desk. Stay tuned for more opportunities to make an impact in the next month.