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Advocacy Report – Fall 2023

Bethann Steiner, Senior Director of Public Affairs

photo of an outdoor music performance at twilight with numerous lawn chairs in the foreground and some people standing, facing away to the stage in the background
People enjoying an outdoor musical performance at Featherstone Center for the Arts.

Mass Cultural Council’s FY24-26 strategic plan directs the Agency to engage in advocacy on behalf of the Commonwealth’s creative and cultural sector.

One way Mass Cultural Council fulfills this mandate is by building and maintaining relationships on Beacon Hill with the Healey-Driscoll Administration and members of the House of Representatives and Massachusetts Senate. Another is engaging in policy conversations occurring in the State House on matters relevant to the sector.

To that end, Mass Cultural Council has recently submitted testimony for consideration on the following topics and proposals:

  1. 3250 – Local Cultural Council Membership

This legislation seeks to ensure Local Cultural Councils (LCCs) serving small and rural communities can attract and retain qualified members and attain quorum in their business meetings allowing those who serve cities and towns with less than 15,000 residents to serve three consecutive terms.


  1. 3241/S. 530 – Creative Space Preservation Act

The Creative Space Preservation Act would disrupt further loss of creative spaces in the Commonwealth by establishing a defined property restriction for creative maker space and performance or exhibition space. It would allow cities and towns to establish trust funds to hold assets and property for the creation and preservation of creative spaces, giving them more tools to keep artists in place.


  1. Ongoing Pandemic Recovery Needs of the Creative and Cultural Sector

It was recently reported that Massachusetts still has approximately $300 million in uncommitted ARPA funds. Mass Cultural Council contacted the Administration and legislative leaders to make the case that unmet need continues in the creative and cultural sector that could be addressed with additional ARPA monies.


  1. Commonwealth’s Economic Development Plan

Every four years at the start of a new gubernatorial term, the Executive Office of Economic Development (EOED) is tasked with developing a statewide plan to guide the Commonwealth’s economic development activities and investments over the next four years. EOED has assembled an Economic Development Planning Council comprised of business and community leaders, members of the Governor’s cabinet, and stakeholders to help craft a strategic plan for Massachusetts economic development policy. EOED is also holding regional planning sessions across the state to gather public input about the state’s economic development needs. In December 2023, EOED will publish a final plan and submit it to the Governor and Legislature.


  1. 151/S. 113 – The ACE Act

This legislation seeks to establish a fund to provide grants to organizations focused on the arts, culture, humanities, and interpretive sciences to remove barriers encountered by people with disabilities. By dedicating these resources to cultural organizations, Massachusetts can build a creative economy where everyone can find enjoyment and belonging in the stories, performances, and exhibits present in our communities.

Those interested in learning more about these proposals or tracking their progress can go through the Legislature’s web site. Testimony can be submitted to the Committee via email at any time in the session.

Further, those interested in submitting comments or suggestions regarding the Commonwealth’s Economic Development Plan can do so via an onine submission form.

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