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New Advocacy Group Focuses on Arts in Massachusetts

This week, arts and cultural leaders in the Berkshires welcomed the launch of a new statewide advocacy organization that places an emphasis on arts education and arts as economic development. WAMC’s Berkshire Bureau Chief Lucas Willard reports…

At the Berkshire Museum in Pittsfield this week, supporters gathered to introduce MASSCreative. Matt Wilson, MASSCreative’s Executive Director, said that the organization is ready to send a unified political message advocating for arts education and building strong communities.

The presentation on Wednesday was just one of the stops MASSCreative is making on the road in a ten-city tour across the Commonwealth to introduce itself and its agenda. Matt Wilson, who came from an advocacy background by working organizations like MoveOn.org, Toxics Action Center, and Health Care For Fall Massachusetts, said that the way the arts have provided new life to two of the Berkshires hardest-hit communities serves as an example for the rest of the Massachusetts.

Executive Director of Berkshire Creative, Jodi Joseph, talked about her previous experience working as a retail manager of the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art in North Adams. She highlighted the success of bringing goods and crafts made in the Berkshires to sell at the museum as one example of how small investments can having a big impact.

Other speakers at the event included Allen Harris of Berkshire Money Management, who spoke about the importance of investing in the community and spreading that message, State Representative Tricia Farley-Bouvier about taking political action, Shirley Edgerton of Youth Alive about the importance of community and it’s importance to at risk youth, and others.

And Matt Wilson talked about MASSCreative’s mission to send a message to lawmakers and state officials about increasing funding for arts education.

At the event, participants were encouraged to write postcards to the Governor’s office in support of MASSCreative’s mission.

Wilson stressed the importance of having a unified voice as a strength to MASSCreative. The kick-off tour will continue in cities throughout the Commonwealth.

More information on MASSCreative can be found at: http://www.Mass-creative.org

Lucas Willard is a reporter and host at WAMC Northeast Public Radio, which he joined in 2011.
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