Core to the mission of the Mass Cultural Council is our role as an advocate on behalf of the arts, humanities, and sciences. As an independent state agency we work to ensure that culture has a voice in the most important decisions facing our Commonwealth and its communities.
Our advocacy is manifested on Beacon Hill primarily through the annual state budget process, when Mass Cultural Council leads the effort to secure robust state resources to support the work of our nonprofit organizations, communities, artists, and educators. Throughout this effort we collaborate with key allies like MASSCreative, Mass Humanities, Mass Artists Leaders Coalition, and thousands of organizations and individuals statewide to share insights on the power of culture in Massachusetts with state policy-makers.
But our work is not only recognized here in the Commonwealth. A January 2020 report on State Arts Agency Grant Making and Funding released by the National Assembly of State Arts Agencies (NASAA) found that:
- Mass Cultural Council makes grants in more communities than any other state in the nation; and
- Mass Cultural Council makes grants to more grantees than any other state in the nation.
We also work to ensure the future of the Mass Cultural Facilities Fund is stable through bonding legislation and the annual state capital spending plan overseen by the Governor.
How We Advocate
In cities and towns across the Commonwealth, we partner with our Local Cultural Councils, mayors, civic groups, and others to put culture at the center of community development.
On Beacon Hill, we work with the Executive Branch and Members of the Massachusetts House and Senate to identify and track legislation and other state initiatives and funding opportunities that impact the nonprofit cultural sector and working artists.
In Washington, we work with Americans for the Arts and others to secure the future of the National Endowments for the Arts and Humanities and other vital federal cultural programs.
Mass Cultural Council is a strong and vocal advocate for arts education, learning through the humanities and sciences, and creative youth development. We are a founding member of the Creative Youth Development National Partnership, leveraging more than 25 years of grantmaking, advocacy, and research in using the power of culture to help disadvantaged youth find pathways to success as adults. We are members of the Arts for All Coalition, which is working to ensure the arts remain a core part of the core curriculum in Massachusetts public schools.
More broadly Mass Cultural Council ensures that the public understands the unique value of public support for culture. We work closely with foundations, corporations, and individual donors, to advance cultural philanthropy and ensure equity and diversity in funding. We commission and share research that helps our constituents do their work more effectively and grow audiences for quality cultural experiences.
How You Can Advocate
Federal and State Advocacy 101: Fundamentals
The session focuses on a foundational understanding of Federal and State governments, government agencies that intersect with the arts and cultural community, and the legislative and budgetary process. Case studies are used to illustrate how to successfully engage in the legislative and budgetary process. Participants receive training in composing testimony in support of legislation and developing talking points to advocate to elected officials.
- Slide Deck (PDF)
Federal and State Advocacy 101: Strategy and Organizing
The session covers how to engage your board, audiences, and networks in broader advocacy efforts. We help participants develop a public narrative, which can anchor an organization’s advocacy efforts. We cover a variety of advocacy actions from letter writing campaigns, to meetings with legislators and engaging the media. We also share examples of advocacy strategies that effectively engage audiences. Finally, we cover what advocacy 501(c) 3 nonprofit organizations are permitted to do on both legislation and elections.
- Slide Deck (PDF)
Join our mailing list and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn.
Check out the latest research on the impact of the arts, humanities, and sciences:
– Mass Cultural Council Case Statement
– Latest study from National Endowment for the Arts (Mass was among the 13 fastest-growing states for arts and cultural industries.)
Learn more about the advocacy campaigns led by MASSCreative.
Learn More About Your State Elected Officials
Who are they? What are their priorities? How can arts and culture help them achieve their public policy goals?
Contact Mass Cultural Council’s Communications and Community Engagement Manager Carmen Plazas to share your stories of how arts and culture are making your community a better place, or to request information or assistance.