As an independent state agency, Mass Cultural Council has the mandate to support a robust and varied set of constituents across Massachusetts, through our annual appropriation from the state Legislature. We know that our dollars, services, and platforms need to be used in ways that deepen our impact, so in planning the focus for our annual Media Partnerships – which support five nonprofit, public radio stations – we center the messaging on elevating the work of our grantees.
Early this year, federal funds provided by the CARES Act enabled Mass Cultural Council to partner with the Baker-Polito Administration to award $10 million in much needed COVID-19 assistance throughout the Commonwealth. The Cultural Organization Economic Recovery Program offered grants to support nonprofit, cultural organizations negatively impacted by the pandemic. This special partnership with the Executive Office of Housing & Economic Development also allowed Mass Cultural Council to support organizations that are doing important working in serving under-resourced populations. Fifty-one of the program grantees were organizations who present, promote, preserve, and advance the creative expression of historically underrepresented and underfunded groups.
Our FY21 media partners were WCRB, WBUR, WICN, WERS, and New England Public Radio, which collectively reach listeners in every region of the Commonwealth. We ran 2,219 spots overall between March 1 and July 9, 2021. See the full report.
Here are three organizations (out of the 24 total promoted) that were highlighted this year, and their radio spots:
In normal years, Eggtooth Productions commissions new works of interactive theater that activate underutilized and alternative downtown spaces to engage new, diverse audiences. They produce the Radical Interconnectedness Festival which offers art of all kinds – theater, music, visual art installation, dance, poetry, video and more – in a variety of existing and unexpected venues in downtown Turners Falls. During the pandemic, with restrictions prohibiting their normal course of placemaking, Eggtooth managed to continue their pursuit of community building by creating an immersive experience over zoom. Melding video game language with immersive theater, audience pods met online to step into a first-person live narrative set of Hamlet.
Listen to the clip:
Circus Up is a “social circus” organization and believes that through the practice of inclusion and accessibility, circus arts can build stronger, kinder, and more resilient communities. The Circus Up Community Troupe, Kirkos, is a team of youth circus artists who perform bold and uplifting shows in the greater Boston area. In the tradition of “social circus,” the Troupe practices and performs together for the purpose of celebrating what it means to courageously learn, play, and create together. Troupe members (ages 8-18) are always learning new skills and demonstrate how social barriers can be broken down through curiosity about each other’s differences and leveraging each other’s unique strengths. The Troupe works hard crafting collaborative circus acts that surprise, baffle, and delight at various community events.
Listen to the clip:
Brain Arts Organization is an equity-focused arts advocacy organization focused on realizing creative independence in systematically undervalued communities, prioritizing BIPOC, ALAANA+, LGBTQIA+, emerging and experimental artists. They foster an environment where individuals can build and sustain meaningful, cohesive communities by organizing events, connecting artists with opportunities, and forging partnerships that champion the value of the creative workforce. Brain Arts operates the Dorchester Art Project which is a multi-use community art space, complete with 15 artist studios, an Art Gallery and Exhibition Space, a storefront selling the work of local artists and free Coworking Space for workshops and individual creative practice.
Listen to the clip:
Read about our Media Partnerships in FY19 and FY20.