By November in an ordinary year, the Mass Cultural Council’s Artist Fellowships Program would be well into its annual grant cycle. But this, of course, is not an ordinary year.
As we shared this Summer, the Artist Fellowships and most of our grants are on pause (the exceptions are Local Cultural Council grants and the Cultural Facilities Fund, currently accepting applications). Most funding programs are paused because, as of now, the Massachusetts Legislature has not passed a Fiscal Year 2021 state budget. But there have been recent developments with the budget: the Governor issued a revised annual spending plan in mid-October (recommending approximately $16.3 million for arts and culture, the same investment as the Governor’s pre-COVID budget plan).
In early November, the House Ways and Means Committee and Senate Ways and Means Committee each announced budget recommendations of approximately $18.2 million for arts and culture through the Mass Cultural Council. This is good news – $18.2 million would represent level funding from last fiscal year’s budget, in a challenging climate.
Once the two Chambers pass a budget bill (which, it’s reported, the Governor is hoping to receive by Thanksgiving), the Governor has 10 days to review and act on it.
So the process continues! One thing is certain: The Governor’s and Chambers’ recommendations signal a strong faith in the power of the cultural sector.
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Image: from Yu-Wen Wu’s (Painting Fellow ’04) has a public art installation, Lantern Stories, commissioned by the Rose Kennedy Greenway Conservancy and on view at Chin Park in Boston’s Chinatown (thru 11/19).