BOSTON, April 9, 2014— Statement by Matt Wilson, MASSCreative Executive Director on House Ways and Means Committee Recommended Funding of the Massachusetts Cultural Council in FY15 State Budget:
“We are deeply disappointed with the House Ways and Means Committee’s recommended funding for the Massachusetts Cultural Council, which would cut the state’s investment in arts and culture by more than 50%.
“Massachusetts is home to large-scale museums, theaters, and orchestras, as well as numerous community-based playhouses and art centers that drive our economy, enhance the academic performance of our students, and build vibrant, connected communities. Core to the success of these cultural institutions is public investment in the arts through the Massachusetts Cultural Council. The budget proposed today by the House Ways and Means Committee is a step backwards.
“Over the past 25 years, the Commonwealth’s investment in the creative community has declined nearly 60 percent. Twenty-five years ago, the state invested $27 million in the creative community; 10 years ago that investment was $19 million. Today, it stands at $11.1 million and the House Ways and Means proposal would cut it to $5 million. Arts organizations in Massachusetts, particularly the smaller and community-based ones that do so much for the downtowns of our Gateway Cities, and enhance the educations of under-resourced youth, operate below full capacity and are not having the impact that they could be having on the economic health and educational success of our cities and towns.
“Rep. Cory Atkins (D-Concord), chairwoman of the Committee on Tourism, Arts and Cultural Development, has filed an amendment to increase funding for the MCC to $16 million in the final House budget. MASSCreative will work with its statewide members to urge their Representatives to support this amendment. MASSCreative and cultural leaders will continue to meet with lawmakers to request increased investment in the arts in Massachusetts.”