JP arts groups ask for more state funding

March 28, 2014
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Various Jamaica Plain-based arts organizations, including representatives from BalletRox, Stonybrook Fine Arts and MassMouth, met with state Rep. Jeffrey Sánchez in JP last week, looking for increased arts funding.

According to a MASSCreative leaflet handed out at the meeting, held at Stonybrook Fine Arts on Porter Street, state-level arts funding has decreased from a high of $27 million in 1988 to less than $9 million this year.

That would generate up to $4.6 billion in economic activity in the state, the leaflet claims.

Sánchez, however, said that funding at that 1988 level is part of a “bygone era.”

“Health care is a budget-buster,” as is education and other essential programs, he said at the meeting. “I’m trying to get [funding] increases, but I’m also trying to make sure nothing gets cut.”

“That’s the reality of what can be done. We have to make priorities,” he said.

Sánchez urged the representatives present to organize and present him and the rest of the state legislature with a few clear goals to focus on—including the request to raise state funding to $16 million for fiscal year 2015.

“We need the guidance,” he said of the state legislature.

He committed himself to advocating for greater funding and promised to co-sign a proposed budget amendment that would increase arts funding.

MASSCreative is a coalition of artists and organizations that promotes building vibrant artistic communities. Its website is mass-creative.org.