Local Arts Funding Receives Boost

Mass. State House

(File photograph.)

The Massachusetts Legislature approved a final budget plan Monday that increases annual funding for the arts, humanities and sciences through the Massachusetts Cultural Council (MCC) by close to $1 million.

The fiscal year 2015 budget allocates $12 million for MCC. Local cultural councils rely on MCC money for grant programs.

The vote came after a coalition including MCC, successfully urged members of a legislative conference committee to support the higher, Senate budget figure of $12 million. The conference committee was led by Ways and Means Committee Co-Chairs Rep. Brian Dempsey of Haverhill and Sen. Stephen Brewer of Barre.

Since the recession, the Governor and Legislature have relied on annual, $3 million transfers to MCC from MassDevelopment, the state’s quasi-public real estate development arm. WHAV exclusively reported last January that Mass Development President and CEO Marty Jones wanted to do away with those transfers. She expressed her wishes then when she spoke before the Merrimack Valley Economic Development Council.

The Fiscal 2015 budget promises to end that arrangement and place MCC back on more solid fiscal footing for future years. If the Governor signs it, the budget will allow MCC to bolster its existing grant programs for nonprofit cultural organizations, local cultural councils, schools and creative youth development; and launch new, community music and universal design initiatives. The entire state appropriation for MCC will come from the General Fund.