Power of Culture Blog
A powerful argument for robust public investment in arts and culture has been made this week, albeit unintentionally, with a recent high-profile suggestion that cultural sites in the Middle East could be in potential danger.
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Cultural and political leaders from across the Commonwealth joined Mass Cultural Council yesterday for the 2019 Commonwealth Awards, honoring exceptional achievement in the arts, humanities, and sciences.
The 2019 Commonwealth Award recipients were the Boston String Academy, The Care Center in Holyoke, Mass Audubon, and Provincetown Art Association and Museum (PAAM). The Berkshire Eagle newspaper received the second JFK Commonwealth Award.
Attendees at the event at WBUR’s new CitySpace heard an inspiring speech by famed conductor Gustavo Dudamel on the power of art and music to transform the lives of young people and their communities. Youth from Boston String Academy—a music education program inspired by the El Sistema model under which Maestro Dudamel grew up—performed as part of an ensemble brought together under Mass Cultural Council’s SerHacer program.
Other distinguished guests included Massachusetts Senators William Brownsberger of Belmont, Senate President Pro Temp, and Ed Kennedy of Lowell, Co-Chair, Joint Committee on Tourism, Arts, and Cultural Development. They were joined by an extraordinary group of Commonwealth Award finalists that included Jeffrey Madison and Berta Welch from the Aquinnah Cultural Center, Paul Revere House CEO Nina Zannieri, New Bedford Historical Society Director Lee Blake, Kate Maguire of Berkshire Theatre Festival, Fitchburg Art Museum Director Nick Capasso and Fitchburg Mayor Steven DiNatale, Eileen McCaffery of the Community Music School of Springfield, and many representatives from Gloucester’s Manship Artists Residency & Studio and the Natick Cultural District.