The Worcester Cultural Coalition’s annual Legislative Breakfast will be attended by local, regional, and state legislatures who want to learn how to better support the arts.
WORCESTER, MA February 23, 2021 – Since 2005, the Worcester Cultural Coalition’s annual Legislative Breakfast has been an opportunity for local arts, culture, and creative workers and organizations to express their concerns to their legislatures directly, and for legislatures to share their progress in return. On March 5, 2021, the call for engagement and the conversation to follow will be unlike those before it.
“Arts, culture, and creativity are the secret sauce which brings Worcester to life, from performance venues and museums, to arts education, and beyond,” said Worcester City Manager Edward M. Augustus, Jr. “As much as local leaders and government officials may aim to support the creative sector, it is important to make sure the work we are doing is equal to the task, and, as we have had to do during the COVID-19 pandemic, to adjust our courses if necessary.”
“Conversations during the WCC’s Legislative Breakfast shed light on the powerful work of the creative sector, and address advocacy, funding, and opportunities. Between the pandemic’s impact on the cultural community, systemic issues of inequity, and the release of Worcester’s Cultural Plan, there’s a lot of ground to cover,” said Erin Williams, executive director of the Worcester Cultural Coalition.
The agenda for the 90-minute program includes a poem presented by Worcester Youth Poet Laureate Amina Mohammed and brief presentations on the states of shuttered venues, youth arts education, and community-based equity. These presentations will be followed by a discussion moderated by Michael Bobbitt, newly appointed executive director of the Mass Cultural Council, with Congressman Jim McGovern, Senator Harriette Chandler, and City Manager Augustus.
Williams notes that the past year has been a year to remember. “Between the pandemic, social justice, and climate change, the challenges we face in our creative community and as a society can’t be ignored. Creative minds are adept at pivoting and we are ready to meet all challenges to build a better creative city. Much of our individual and collective work has gone virtual, which in many ways has made it easier for people to experience programs and exchange ideas. It’s a welcome addition to the ways we can engage with everyone.”
According to the most recent data collected by the Mass Cultural Council, the pandemic has had a significant impact on cultural organizations in Massachusetts. More than $484 million in revenue was lost between March and October 2020, and over 30,000 jobs were affected in the same time period. Grants, loans, and other economic relief programs have been announced and are ongoing, as have many other initiatives. With the many changes in the world over the past year, Williams says the job isn’t done once these initiatives are rolled out; measuring their success is essential as well.
“The cultural community’s needs are great, and we have a long history of bringing people together and finding creative solutions to life’s challenges. We believe our embrace of technology over the last year will increase the impact of this year’s Legislative Breakfast, and it will be inspiring,” Williams said.
Register for the 2021 Legislative Breakfast, from 8:30 – 10am on Friday, March 5 on Zoom: https://zoom.us/meeting/register/tJcrdOmspj8rHdLvc2BQGtv-3Lvuo4ekf72w
The public are invited to submit questions to the Legislative panel, keeping in mind that this conversation will focus on to arts, culture, and creative community topics. Submit questions to Culture@WorcesterMA.gov by Thursday, March 4 at 9am.