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Deepening a Relationship with a Key Collaborator

Michael J. Bobbitt, Executive Director

Advancing the Arts & Creativity in Massachusetts

photo of Michael J. Bobbitt seated and speaking into a microphone
Michael J. Bobbitt speaking at the Springfield Creative City Collective Holiday Meeting in December. Photo: Aspire to Dream Productions.

As Mass Cultural Council works to advance the creative and cultural sector, we’ve prioritized building and strengthening our relationships within many different industries. In last month’s post we shared that in the past year we’ve started to pop up in places you wouldn’t always expect to see the arts. Last week we attended the annual meeting of the Mass Lodging Association. There we were met with enthusiasm and encouraged to continue building our connections and exploring collaborative opportunities. Imagine what would happen if we were able to convince the lodging industry to showcase work by Massachusetts artists. This is already happening in many local restaurants and coffee shops – we love to see it! Could we also do this in hospitals? The hallways of public buildings? The list is endless. This will require building relationships – the focus of our advancement work.

In early February, I will be featured in the Mass Chamber of Commerce Executives’ Speaker Series. I know this will be the first of many engagements with local, regional, and statewide Chambers of Commerce who we should have deep relationships with. Chambers support businesses, and the cultural and creative sector is full of businesses. I hope you are all connected with your Chambers.

This month, we want to share the ways we are strengthening the Agency’s alignment with a more obvious collaborator, the Mass Office of Travel & Tourism (MOTT). MOTT is the state agency enacted to market the tourism sector – which includes the arts. When the Executive Office of Economic Development named Kate Fox Executive Director of MOTT last summer we were absolutely thrilled and worked quickly to establish a monthly conversation between our two organizations. We hope to host a “Get to Know MOTT” webinar soon, so that you may learn about their programs and how a relationship with them could be mutually beneficial. Stay tuned.

Tourism and the arts are a natural pairing. We know that there are endless reasons to visit Massachusetts and that museums, historic homes, zoos, and aquariums; as well as incredible music, dance, and theater take up a good amount of space on that list. We also know that tourism is a key contributor to the economic well-being of Massachusetts cities and towns and that culture is a known driver of tourism. According to the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis, in 2021 alone the cultural sector in Massachusetts generated $27.2 billion in spending and economic activity, accounted for 4.2% of the state’s gross domestic product, and supported 135,181 jobs. Visitors to the Commonwealth frequently seek out local creatives to understand what sets the region apart. This leads to a boost for local economies – think restaurants, lodging, transportation – and potential increased revenue for local artists.

Knowing all of this, we are thrilled to collaborate with Kate and her team at MOTT. On January 26 Mass Cultural Council and MOTT will co-present at the North of Boston Tourism Summit in Peabody. Will we see you there? The Agency will also present this month at MOTT’s Mass Marketing Partnership Board of Directors meeting, and in March at the quarterly meeting of the Advisory Commission on Travel & Tourism hosted by Martha Sheridan and her team at Meet Boston.

We know that being in these rooms and deepening these existing relationships will yield great things. As we continue to pursue our advancement work (and encourage you all to do the same!) we want to note that it’s not always all about the shiny, new, and unexpected. Sometimes we can strengthen and advance our work simply by reinvigorating and reimagining how we work with those we already know. Creative co-conspirators are all around you, friends! Who will you connect with today?

Bobbitt’s Call to Action

  1. Connect with your local or regional Chamber of Commerce and/or Economic Development Department. They are often listed on your city or town’s web site.
  2. Join your Regional Tourism Council.
  3. Post your events and organizations on
  4. Meet with three organizations in your region that work in the tourism industry – restaurant, lodging, transportation, etc.

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