Power of Culture Blog
Reflections of a state folklorist
Mass Cultural Council is much more than a grant maker. We provide the services, consultation, and support that assure that every tax dollar we invest in the cultural landscape of Massachusetts delivers meaningful impact for our residents.
“Mass Cultural Council worked with Berkshire Theatre Group on a plan for sustainability. The work, depth of passion, thoughtfulness, and commitment to excellence shown to our staff and board through this work means that our theatre will persevere and flourish for many more years.
I speak on behalf of the staff and board in saying without this work with MCC, particularly customized for our organization, our future was in doubt. Our community is the beneficiary of all we achieved. The services provided by Mass Cultural Council are critical to the lifeblood of our artistic organizations.”
– Kate Maguire, Berkshire Theatre Group’s Artistic Director & CEO
We are more than money. Our grants do not stand alone. They are not just checks in the mail. They are a strategic part of programs that build vibrant communities, spark economic growth, and prepare the next generation to lead.
Our services are only possible because of the hours staff spend supporting constituents. Since July 1, 2018 Mass Cultural Council staff have:
That is roughly 236 8-hour work days serving communities.
Despite the extensive field work, in-state and out-of-state travel expenses make up a small percentage of overall agency expenditures. (0.7% of total budget)
In addition to spending on grants and administration, Mass Cultural Council has a third category of spending: non-grant services. These services are developed in response to needs articulated by the field. The services help increase the capacity and sustainability of organizations, raise visibility of artists and artist opportunities, ensure young people have access to arts and culture, foster inclusion, and amplify cultural vitality in cities and towns. Below are our non-grant services offered in FY19:
Creative Minds Out Loud: Agency podcast featuring conversations with arts and cultural leaders with 6,559 downloads in FY19 (and is required listening for 4 university programs.)
EBT Card to Culture: 175 organizations have provided EBT Card holders 258,000 free/discounted admissions.
Hire Culture: Creative employment site used by more than 1,500 organizations. In FY19, 2,919 jobs have been posted for free with 1,369,304 pageviews by job seekers.
ArtSake and Gallery: A blog celebrating art and the creative process with 101,195 pageviews, 418 opportunities for artists posted, and individual artists featured 559 times and an online Gallery showcasing 716 Artist Fellows and Finalists with 35,089 pageviews in FY19.
Keepers of Tradition: Online collection of folk/traditional arts with 18,737 pageviews in FY19.
Local Cultural Council Online Office: Service for 329 Local Cultural Councils including toolkit of resources, public webpages for each council with 262,410 pageviews, and grant system for them to accept online applications.
Spacefinder Mass: A discovery tool for creative spaces across the state that includes 572 space listings.
Access and Inclusion: Six ADA 101 Workshops with at least 100 attendees, five day-long workshops for 40 UP Innovation Learning Network participants, user/expert site visits to 10 organizations, and support of network of 59 UP Organizations to foster learning and networking between them.
Capacity and Sustainability: Capacity Accelerator Network for 36 cultural nonprofits to ensure their long-term sustainability through a series of learning sessions, a day-long capitalization workshop for 85 attendees to help organizations inventory their full cost and complete capital framework, an emergency preparedness workshop to help 45 organizations identify risks and create a disaster plan, and 4 small shop convenings attended by 51 people, representing 42 organizations, to provide technical assistance to all-volunteer or single-staffed cultural
Customized Support: Providing 400 cultural organizations individualized support including 1-on-1 and peer site visits, emergency hands-on interventions, ongoing contact and related network cultivation, convenings/group gatherings, 1-on-1 meetings with executive directors.
Creative Youth Development National Partnership: A partnership to drive collective action in key strategic priorities to advance CYD including a blog and website with 14,552 pageviews in FY19.
Seen & Heard: A blog featuring voices and vision of young people and practitioners in these vital programs with 6,615 pageviews in FY19.
Creative Minds Out of School: Arts education training for in- and out-of-school time educators. Since the program began, over 1,200 educators have been trained and at least 25,000 children benefited.
Johnson Strings Project: Provides over 300 free instruments to children each year.
META Fellowships: Professional development and training for 57 music educators/teaching artists from 30 schools and organizations including 4 day-long workshops.
Poetry Out Loud: A national recitation contest that celebrates the power of the spoken word and a mastery of public speaking skills involving 80 schools and 21,500 students.