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Senator Spilka Joins Legislative Leaders in Forming New Cultural Caucus

February 1, 2010

Senator Karen Spilka, in her capacity as the Senate Chair of the Joint Committee on Economic Development and Emerging Technologies and as representative of a district with a great deal of creative economy activity, joined elected officials on January 28, 2010 in the creation of the first Cultural Caucus in the Massachusetts Legislature.  The goal of the caucus is to advance an agenda that harnesses the power of Massachusetts’ $4 billion cultural sector in the state’s efforts to strengthen the economy.

The formation of the caucus came a few days before the release of the START Partnership’s “START Economic Impact Study,” which found that proposed investments in Framingham’s six largest cultural organizations would increase their economic impact by $36M over the next ten years.  Included in the study are Amazing Things Arts Center, the Danforth Museum of Art, the Framingham History Center, the Framingham Public Library, Garden in the Woods and the Performing Arts Center of MetroWest.

“It is clear that we cannot ignore the creative economy when we turn our attention to economic recovery and job growth,” stated Senator Spilka.  “In MetroWest, we have a great base to build upon, and by investing in our cultural organizations we can stimulate nearby businesses, create jobs and realize real financial returns.”

The study also found – if proposed investments were made – the net present value of the six START Partnership members would increase $11.2 million to $39 million while adding 536 new jobs.

On the state level, recent data from the Massachusetts Cultural Facilities Fund shows that $37 million in state fund for building projects in the arts, humanities, and sciences have helped generate the following:

14.3 million new visitors to Massachusetts cultural venues, nearly a third from out of state.
Nearly 8,000 full-time jobs and $417 million in collective wages and salaries.
Jobs for more than 5,384 architects, engineers, contractors and construction workers.
1,163 new permanent jobs in Massachusetts.

“These organizations are the foundation for tourism, the third largest industry in Massachusetts,” said Anita Walker, the Massachusetts Cultural Council’s (MCC) Executive Director. “Investments in this sector through the MCC pay dividends to the state.”

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