Supporting Arts and Culture

Arts and culture are important aspects of Cape Ann’s character and economy. Our history is full of artists capturing the spirit of Cape Ann: its natural beauty, our fishing traditions, and more. World-renowned artists such as Fitz Henry Lane, Winslow Homer, Paul Manship, and Walker Hancock have called Cape Ann “home” and captured its history and charm for all to see.

That tradition lives on today with local artists continuing to preserve the spirit of Gloucester, Rockport, and Essex. In the summer and during events like Cape Ann Plein Air, you can travel around Cape Ann and see the artists at work, inspired by our community. Cape Ann also continues to attract artists from across the bridge, now in the form of film and television studios that bring the beauty of our communities to the big screen for viewers around the world to admire. These artists provide a boost to our local economy both directly and through the tourism it creates.

I’m proud of our artistic history and a strong advocate of protecting and promoting the future of arts and culture on Cape Ann and around Massachusetts. Working with state and local partners, we have been able to bring support for arts and culture back home to Cape Ann. The Mass Cultural Council has invested locally in Rockport Music, Gloucester Maritime Heritage Center, Cape Ann Symphony Orchestra, and many other beacons of art and culture on Cape Ann. Most recently, MCC awarded $320,000 in capital grants from the Massachusetts Cultural Facilities Fund to the Cape Ann Museum and Gloucester Meetinghouse Foundation.

Last week, I was excited to help cut the ribbon at the grand opening of Manship Artists Residency + Studios along with my state and local colleagues. MARS started several years ago as a dream by local artists to preserve the property of Paul Manship and continue its use by artists. Thanks to support from our local community and Mass Cultural Council – as well as a lot of elbow grease – that dream has come true. It has been a pleasure to have seen this vision grow into a reality and to have been able to help bring support from the state to the table.

For the fiscal year 2020 budget, the House of Representatives included in the state budget an amendment that I co-sponsored to provide funding for ArtWeek, a statewide cultural and arts festival that features unique and creative experiences that are hands-on, interactive or offer behind-the-scenes access to artists and the creative process. This year, ArtWeek events and demonstrations took place at local venues and galleries across Cape Ann.

For several years, we have had to fend off attempts to repeal the film tax credit from both the governor’s office and from within the legislature. Fortunately, we have been successful defending this asset to our economy. Movies and television shows filmed locally bring millions of dollars of work to the residents and businesses of Massachusetts every year, creating jobs for our residents, from blue collar construction workers to white collar professionals and those in between. To secure these benefits for the future, the legislature is now considering a bill to make the film tax credit permanent.

To further boost our downtowns and cultural centers, the legislature is considering a bill for a live theater “pre-Broadway” tax credit. The proposed legislation would provide a credit to a production that takes place at an eligible theater in Massachusetts that then goes on to perform on Broadway. Massachusetts used to be a leader in runs of pre-Broadway shows. Now those shows are premiering in cities and states that recognize the cultural and economic value these performances bring to their cities and towns.

Art and culture enriches our spirit and our economy. Together, I hope we can continue to make strong investments in our arts and culture on Cape Ann and around Massachusetts.