MASSCreative Asks You to Show Your Political Support for the Arts

by Jacquelyn Malone

The arts are an important part of the lives of most who are reading this story right now. The arts are also important to thousands—perhaps millions—of Massachusetts residents who enjoy museums, literature, theater, music, and the visual arts. But how important is this lively community to the political process of our state? As the November election grows closer, MASSCreative is setting a target of October 24 for arts organizations to reach out to their members asking them to make their voices heard in the political arena.

In January of 2010 MASSCreative began with a gathered group of arts and cultural executives and members of The Boston Foundation and the Massachusetts Cultural Council. That group was asking itself how to show the state that the arts are not just “nice” but necessary. With over 6000 arts institutions across the Commonwealth, they wanted a political voice commensurate with this huge population. MASSCreative was born from that meeting, and Wilson, who has been a community and political organizer for 30 years, became its first director.

The mission of MASSCreative is to bring together art groups and supporter entrepreneurs to speak as one voice to advocate for a more vibrant Massachusetts in terms of our culture. The strategy to achieve that mission was three-fold. First they wanted stories that told the impact of the arts on the community, an impact that was not only “nice,” but economic and educational. Second, they wanted to show that arts education provides the creativity and innovation needed in a thriving community. And third, they wanted to bring together communities and get them motivated to back political issues pertaining to the arts.

Wilson provides an example of an individual raising political awareness. “During the Boston mayoral race someone asked Marty Walsh about his support of the arts, and he pledged an art renaissance in Boston. At the first governor’s debate in July, an event that drew every candidate except Charlie Baker, we asked each candidate about their support. Though at that point few candidates for any office had issued statements about the arts, now you can see a list of candidates who have gone on record with their support.”

Organizations like Mass Cultural Council are already feeling the change. MCC's yearly budget has increased from nine to 12 million dollars yearly, and many organizations have received moneys to repair their facilities.

So you may be asking what you can do? Here, from their website, is the MASSCreative list of initiatives you can take:

This is really a grass roots effort you can take part in! You can make a difference. Get going!