State Senate Budget Plan Boosts Cultural Funding & Supports New Public Art Measure
MA) - The Massachusetts Senate demonstrated strong support for the
arts, humanities, and sciences in the Fiscal 2018 budget plan it
approved last week, boosting cultural funding by 18 percent and
approving a new program to support public art.
proposals now go before a House-Senate conference committee charged with
reconciling the two chambers' approaches to the budget for the new
fiscal year that begins July 1. The House and Senate then must approve a
final budget plan before sending it back to the Governor, who can sign
it, veto it, or veto select line items.
Over the next several weeks the Mass Cultural Council and its advocacy partners—MASSCreative, Mass Humanities, Mass Artists Leaders Coalition,
and others—will urge members of that conference committee to adopt the
Senate plan so the benefits of public support for culture can be shared
across more communities.
"The Senate showed real leadership
at a time of continuing pressure on state finances," said Anita Walker,
Mass Cultural Council Executive Director. "They heard from advocates
statewide that state support for culture is not a subsidy—it is a down
payment on our future prosperity as a Commonwealth."
final Senate budget calls for $16.5 million to support the arts,
humanities, and sciences through the Mass Cultural Council. That would
represent an increase of $2.5 million, or 18 percent. By contrast, the
House would allocate $12 million for the arts and culture, a cut of
roughly 13 percent, for next year. Current state arts funding via Mass
Cultural Council is $14 million. The
budget plan also included language sponsored by Senator Eric Lesser of
East Longmeadow to establish the Massachusetts Public Art Program
(MPAP), which would set aside funds for the creation and preservation of
public art on Commonwealth-owned properties. MASSCreative and its
advocates campaigned in support of the measure.
budget offers a real chance to further fuel our creative economy," said
Walker. "We will put those additional dollars to work in ways that drive
cultural tourism, employment, and community vitality across the
Walker urged the cultural community to thank
their Senators for their show of support, and ask their Representatives
to support the arts and culture provisions in the Senate budget.
Arts and cultural leaders can go to our Advocacy Action Center for additional background on the process and information for making the case to lawmakers.
The Mass Cultural Council 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 agency's total budget for this fiscal year is $16.1 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 in partnership with MassDevelopment.