Boston –The Campaign for Cultural Facilities formed by The Boston Foundation, the Massachusetts Cultural Council [MCC] and the Massachusetts Advocates for the Arts, Sciences and Humanities [MAASH] salutes the work of Speaker of the House Salvatore F. DiMasi (D-Boston); State Rep. Daniel E. Bosley (D-North Adams), Chairman of the House Committee on Economic Development and Emerging Technologies; State Rep. David Torrisi (D-North Andover), Chairman of the Joint Committee on Community Development and Small Business; and State Rep. Michael Rodrigues (D-Westport), Chairman of the Joint Committee on Labor and Workforce Development; for filing legislation today to create statewide Cultural Facilities Funding as part of a House economic stimulus package.
A commitment by the state to invest $250 million is expected to leverage an additional minimum of $250 million in private funding for a total investment of $500 million over 10 years.
“This dramatic and innovative legislation—one of the first of its kind in the nation—makes Massachusetts a leader in its support for the arts and culture,” said Paul S. Grogan, President and CEO of the Boston Foundation. “This is a visionary bill because it recognizes how vital tourism is to our economy, and that tourism depends on our cultural and heritage organizations to draw visitors. This is the right investment at the right time.”
Over the last three years, the three organizations have advocated securing a major pool of state funds to be used to maintain, renovate, and expand Massachusetts’s cultural facilities. This followed from a 2004 survey undertaken by the Boston Foundation, MAASH and the MCC of 126 of the state's cultural organizations, which projected more than $1.1 billion in cultural facility “bricks and mortar” needs over the next five years. The survey also showed that the average age of cultural facilities in Massachusetts is 93 years.
“As we conducted the research and made plans for an advocacy campaign to secure facilities funding, we heard from leaders across the state—legislators, mayors, business and community leaders—that arts and culture was a significant economic development tool in all regions of the state,” said Dan Hunter, Executive Director of MAASH. “I applaud representatives Bosley, Torrisi and Rodrigues for recognizing the key role that arts, culture and heritage play in our economy.”
To focus this emerging consensus, the Boston Foundation, MAASH and the MCC convened on May 31 a statewide steering committee of business, civic and cultural leaders, called the Campaign for Cultural Facilities, to advocate for a private-public partnership for vigorous investment in cultural facilities. This year, legislative leaders also recognized the value of arts and culture through the establishment of the Joint Committee on Tourism, Arts and Cultural Development, chaired by State Sen. Jack Hart (D-South Boston) and State Rep. Eric Turkington (D-Falmouth).
Senator Hart, Rep. Bosley and Rep. Turkington, along with Sen. Stan Rosenberg (D-Amherst) and State Sen. Steven Panagiotakos (D-Lowell) met with the Campaign for Cultural Facilities steering committee on June 6 to discus the idea of such a public-private partnership and plans to increase investment in cultural facilities.
“It is an investment in our competitive advantage,” said Mary Kelley, Executive Director of the Massachusetts Cultural Council. “Our heritage of 300 years of arts, sciences and humanities is a resource no state can rival. It enriches the lives of those who live here and it is a compelling draw for people from across the country and around the world.”
The bill will provide $13 million annual appropriation to be combined with funds raised by bonds secured by an incremental increase in hotel/motel tax revenue to create a fund of $25 to $29 million per year in grant money. This grant program will be administered by the Massachusetts Cultural Council and financial management by MassDevelopment.
The money does not represent new expenditure for the state. Instead, it redirects money previously dedicated to pay for tourism-related infrastructure by paying off the Hynes Convention Center debt (which will be completed in the fall of 2005). This means money dedicated to developing tourism in Massachusetts will continue to be used for that purpose, but instead of being earmarked for Boston’s infrastructure, it will now also support organizations across the state.
The Cultural Facilities Fund is expected to leverage significant additional amounts of private funding to match the state investment. The legislation requires organizations that receive funding to secure matching funds. Private funds must equal the grant for projects up to $1 million, twice the grant between $1 million and $2.5 million, three times the grant between $2.5 million and $4 million, and four times the grant between $4 million and $5 million.
This investment reflects the importance of tourism to the state economy. Today, tourism is Massachusetts’ second largest industry, with arts, culture and heritage sites providing the biggest draw for more than 26 million visitors who spent $11.6 billion in the state in the most recent year for which data is available.
As the attached timeline indicates, this legislation comes after years of advocacy, research and collaboration by the Boston Foundation, MAASH, the MCC and business and cultural leaders across the state.
* * *
The Boston Foundation, one of the nation’s oldest and largest community foundations, has an endowment of almost $675 million. In 2004, the Foundation made $51 million in grants to nonprofit organizations, and received gifts of $41 million. The Boston Foundation is made up of 750 separate charitable funds, which have been established by donors either for the general benefit of the community or for special purposes. The Boston Foundation also serves as a civic leader, convener, and sponsor of special initiatives designed to build community. For more information about the Boston Foundation and its grant making, visit www.tbf.org , or call 617-338-3890.
The Massachusetts Advocates for the Arts, Sciences, & Humanities (MAASH) is the statewide advocacy organization for the arts, sciences and humanities representing the cultural community throughout Massachusetts. An independent, non-profit organization, MAASH identifies significant issues of importance to the industry and works to influence legislation and public opinion. For more information visit www.maash.org or call 617-338-4395.
The Massachusetts Cultural Council promotes excellence, access, education and diversity in the arts, humanities and interpretive sciences, in order to improve the quality of life for all Massachusetts residents and contribute to the economic vitality of our communities. The MCC is committed to building a central place for the arts, sciences and humanities in the everyday lives of communities across the Commonwealth. The Council pursues this mission through a combination of grant programs, partnerships, and services for nonprofit cultural organizations, schools, communities, and individual artists. For more information visit www.massculturalcouncil.org or call 617-727-3668.