We believe it is not enough to envision a better world. We must build it.
Culture is intrinsically valuable and unique in its ability to lift the human spirit. Cultural diversity is as necessary for humankind as biodiversity is for nature.
Mass Cultural Council must be a leader in making Massachusetts a place of diversity, equity, and inclusion.
In order to build a place of equity and inclusion we will:
Honor the breadth and diversity of cultural expression across Massachusetts,
Fairly and equitably invest our financial, programmatic, and informational resources, and
Recognize that listening to all voices is not enough. We must activate what we hear.
This is not a goal with a perfect end. It is an imperfect process demanding constant attention. We know that this work is hard. But we are committed.
Massachusetts is becoming a more diverse Commonwealth. The cultural sector—our nonprofit arts, humanities, and science organizations, artists, schools, local cultural councils—is uniquely positioned to ensure this diversity remains our strength. The arts, humanities, and sciences are the means through which diversity strengthens the fabric of our communities, cross-cultural conversations enhance our understanding of one another, and racism and bigotry of all kinds are identified and rejected.
As the sole state agency dedicated to supporting this sector, Mass Cultural Council is a bridge between state government, our cultural community, and the people we serve. To that end we work to promote diversity, equity, inclusion (DEI) within the agency and through grants, initiatives, and advocacy. That means Mass Cultural Council welcomes and respects our constituents regardless of age, ability, ethnicity, race, religion, philosophical or political beliefs, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, nationality, geographic origin, immigration status, and socio-economic status.
The Mass Cultural Council is proud of its accomplishments in this work. We were the first state arts agency in the country to specifically incorporate the humanities and sciences into our mission, ensuring a more inclusive definition of culture that allowed for diverse grantmaking to a range of nonprofit cultural organizations, artists, and educational initiatives. With 329 local cultural councils led by 2,500 volunteers, our investments reach every corner of Massachusetts regardless of geography. Our 25-plus years of investments in creative youth development pioneered strategies to leverage the power of the arts and culture to help vulnerable young people find pathways to success in school and life. Our Universal Participation Initiative broke new ground by helping nonprofits incorporate universal design principles to be more open and welcoming to persons with disabilities. And our EBT Card to Culture program has opened the doors to museums, theaters, music halls and more, to Massachusetts residents of limited means, through free or reduced admissions.
To support our vision for diversity, equity, and inclusion, we are working through a multi-year process that began with a yearlong learning and assessment process in FY18. During that process we identified five areas of focus and related goals, based on our own organizational structures and relationships with our constituents:
Grantmaking and Awards
Training, Technical Assistance, and Other Services
The second year of EBT Card to Culture showed continued growth and enthusiasm. Feedback from EBT cardholders has been incredibly positive and touching. Organizations report many new visitors through the program, and the return of patrons who hadn’t been able to visit in years.
We're proud to announce that our Universal Participation (UP) Initiative now provides a professional development grant to attend the Leadership Exchange in Arts and Disability (LEAD) conference put on by the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. Congratulations to the 10 recipients of this new $1,000 grant!
From Artist News to Creative Youth, Community Initiative, and Power of Culture, our email lists are a great way to keep up with the work of Mass Cultural Council and its partners across the Commonwealth.