Power of Culture Blog
Racial Equity Progress Report (Jan – Mar ’23)
A quarterly report on our anti-racism work
Congratulations to Mass Cultural Council Executive Director Michael J. Bobbitt, who was honored by MassOpera this weekend as the recipient of the 2022 Action Bearing Award. Bobbitt was recognized for his advocacy and activism towards the development of a cultural sector that is more equitable, just, representative, and anti-racist.
He accepted the award during MassOpera’s Party and Vocal Competition Finals at the Longy School of Music on October 15.
“I am honored by this recognition,” said Bobbitt, “and gratefully accept it on behalf of my dynamic team at Mass Cultural Council. Together we are traveling down an uncharted path, with the goal of investing our public resources equitably and supporting our vision of the Massachusetts cultural sector with creative, innovative, inclusive, accessible, and decolonized programming and grant making.”
MassOpera cultivates experiences for artists and audiences that challenge the status quo and reflect our diverse community. In 2018, MassOpera, formerly MetroWest Opera, went through a tremendous rebrand, including the launch of a new organizational name, mission statement, and website. MassOpera strives to be an ever evolving and responsive performing arts organization, with a commitment to telling new stories, creating opportunities that otherwise would not exist, and representing all forms of diversity on stage and off.
Bobbitt joined Mass Cultural Council as Executive Director in early 2021. Under his guidance that same year the Agency developed its first Racial Equity Plan, which outlines internal and external actions to ensure programs and resources are accessible and delivered equitably across the sector. Under Bobbitt’s leadership, Mass Cultural Council’s external engagement model actively recruits and builds relationships across all communities. This is not the first time the Agency’s Racial Equity Plan and goals have received attention: in June 2022, Mass Cultural Council was recognized by Empower Success Corps for leadership in helping cultural nonprofits navigate the pandemic landscape and for advocating strongly for equitable funding and increased funding for the arts, while in September the Agency received the 2022 Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Leadership Award for state arts agencies from the National Assembly of State Arts Agencies (NASAA).
By making progress on the goals outlined in the Racial Equity Plan, Bobbitt and Mass Cultural Council hope to ensure a more equitably financed cultural sector across all Massachusetts communities.