July 8, 2015

Contact: Gregory Liakos, Communications Director, 617-858-2720

Legislature Votes to Increase MCC Funding by $2 Million

(Boston, MA) – The state Legislature approved a budget today that increases annual funding for the arts, humanities, and sciences through the Massachusetts Cultural Council (MCC) by $2 million.

The budget allocates $14 million for MCC’s core grants and services for fiscal year 2016. If signed by the Governor, the budget will allow the agency to increase its investment in nonprofit cultural organizations, local cultural councils, creative youth development, and artists. It would be the largest allocation since fiscal year 2002, when state funding for the arts, humanities, and sciences through MCC was just over $19 million.

The vote came after a coalition that included MCC, MASSCreative, Mass Humanities, Mass Artists Leaders Coalition successfully urged members of a legislative conference committee to support the higher, Senate budget allocation of $14 million. The conference committee was led by Joint Ways & Means Committee Co-Chairs Sen. Karen Spilka of Ashland and Rep. Brian Dempsey of Haverhill.

Walker thanked the conference committee chairs along with Senate President Stan Rosenberg of Amherst, House Speaker Robert DeLeo of Winthrop; members of both the Joint Committee on Tourism, Arts, and Cultural Development and Cultural Caucus; MASSCreative and the many advocates who joined the campaign to restore cultural funding through the state budget process.

“The stories we are able to tell as we make the case for this crucial investment are the product of the passionate, selfless, and inspired efforts of thousands of our cultural colleagues in every corner of the Commonwealth,” said MCC Executive Director Anita Walker. “All have continued to serve their communities in economic downturns and lean times. We are so grateful to the Legislature for acknowledging this work, and the vital role that public support plays in sustaining our Commonwealth’s creative life.”

The budget also included an outside section that establishes a Massachusetts Percent for Art Program (MPAP). The Program would support “the preservation of existing public art and the creation of new public art” in Boston and Gateway Cities such as Lawrence, Fall River, and Holyoke. It would do so by setting aside half a percent of the cost of construction and renovation of state buildings, up to $250,000. MCC would have a seat on a public art commission to oversee the program along with designees from other state and local government agencies.

The new fiscal year started July 1; the Legislature passed a temporary budget that provided funding for MCC & other state services while the House & Senate worked out the agreement reached today. The Governor has ten days to sign the budget, veto it, or strike sections via line item vetoes.

About the Massachusetts Cultural Council
The Massachusetts 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 grants, services, and advocacy for nonprofit cultural organizations, schools, communities, and artists. MCC’s total budget for fiscal year 2015 was $13.3 million, which included a state appropriation and grants from the National Endowment for the Arts. MCC also runs the Massachusetts Cultural Facilities Fund in partnership with MassDevelopment.