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FY23 State Budget Invests $23.4M into Cultural Sector

Bethann Steiner, Public Affairs Director

Update July 28, 2022: Governor Baker signed the FY23 state budget into law today; in doing so he approved the Legislature’s appropriation of $23,377,000 for Mass Cultural Council to invest into the Commonwealth’s cultural sector. Our staff is now finalizing the FY23 Agency Spending Plan, which will be presented to the governing Council for approval on August 25. Once approved Mass Cultural Council will be authorized to open FY23 grant program cycles.  Information on these funding opportunities will be promoted on the Agency’s website, social media channels, and in our monthly e-newsletters as they become available.  


On July 18 the state House of Representatives and Senate are scheduled to vote to approve H. 5050, the FY23 Conference Committee Budget, which funds state government programs and operations through June 30, 2023.

This $52.7 billion spending plan includes a historic $23,377,000 for Mass Cultural Council to equitably invest in the cultural sector. Broken down, this figure represents a record $22.5 million for Agency programming, as well as $877,000 for 18 legislatively mandated earmarks that support local cultural projects and organizations. For comparison, Mass Cultural Council’s FY22 state appropriation was $21,375,000 ($20M for Agency programming and $1,375M for legislative earmarks).

This appropriation increases the Agency’s programming budget by 12.5%, and Mass Cultural Council is ready to invest that additional $2.5 million into grants and services benefiting Massachusetts artists, cultural sector workers, cultural organizations, youth arts programming, and communities.

We note that the last time the state budget included more than $23 million for arts and culture was in Fiscal Year 1987! Mass Cultural Council is deeply appreciative of its legislative partners on Beacon Hill who worked hard during the budget building cycle to prioritize funding for the cultural sector, including House Speaker Ron Mariano, House Ways & Means Chair Aaron Michlewitz, Tourism Arts & Cultural Development Committee Chair Carole Fiola and Vice Chair Dylan Fernandes, the 73 Representatives who co-sponsored our House Budget Amendment, Senate President Karen Spilka, Senate Ways & Means Chair Michael Rodrigues, Tourism, Arts & Cultural Development Committee Chair Senator Ed Kennedy, and the 21 Senators who co-sponsored our Senate Budget Amendment.

A Big Year for State Investment in the Cultural Sector

As a state agency, Mass Cultural Council is funded primarily through public funds which are approved by the Legislature and the Governor. In FY23 the Agency is tasked with investing a historic amount of state and federal funds into the cultural sector — nearly $100 million!

State Funding Source Amount
Pandemic Recovery Grant Monies (ARPA Spending Plan) $60,147,000
FY23 State Budget Appropriation $23,377,000
FY23 Capital Spending Plan – Cultural Facilities Fund $10,000,000
2% Casino Tax Revenues – Gaming Mitigation Grant Program $5,000,000 (Estimated figure)
Total FY23 State Funds for Cultural Sector: $98,524,000

Next Steps for the FY23 Budget and Agency Spending Plan

Once the Legislature approves H. 5050 the budget goes to Governor Baker, who has 10 days to review and act on the bill. When the budget becomes law and this $23.4 million appropriation is confirmed, Mass Cultural Council can finalize its FY23 Spending Plan, which will be presented to the governing Council during the August 25 meeting for approval. Once the governing Council has voted in favor of the FY23 Spending Plan, grant programs for FY23 will open over the coming months.

To stay up to date on grant funding opportunities and new Agency initiatives, please follow @MassCultural on social media, or sign up for our monthly Power of Culture e-Newsletter.


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