Local governments, nonprofits, and a state agency will all sing from the same music sheet under an initiative launched in Massachusetts today to foster a rich cultural life.
Representatives from the city of Springfield, the Springfield Cultural Council, the Springfield Central Cultural District, and the Mass Cultural Council signed a document Tuesday to align their interests on projects and programs that boost the local economy, increase tourism, and unite a diverse population.
The state agency has piloted the new Cultural Compact initiative in six cities. Anita Walker, Executive Director of the Mass Cultural Council hailed Springfield for being the first to officially sign up.
"We think there is a lot of power to bringing people together and having conversations and making sure the cultural community has an institutional place at the table in City Hall, " explained Walker.
Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno said the decision to enter into the official agreement was a “no-brainer.”
Sarno said the compact will help the city promote its assets to first-time visitors drawn to Springfield by the MGM casino which opens later this year.
" It sends a strong and healthy and vibrant message if you can hold events like ( music ) festivals, arts, culture and entertainment," said Sarno.
Speaking at the compact signing ceremony in City Hall, Springfield City Council vice-chairperson Kateri Walsh praised the agreement as did State Senators Eric Lesser ( D-Longmeadow) and James Welch ( D-West Springfield) and State Rep. Carlos Gonzalez ( D-Springfield).
Lesser said arts and cultural development equate to economic development.
" In western Massachusetts for every dollar we spend on cultural programming we have a seven-fold increase into the wider economy," said Lesser. " Importantly, these are jobs that can not be outsourced. They are local jobs that bring cash to local communities."
Gonzalez said music and the arts can promote unity.
"I just think in the climate in the nation today arts is a great opportunity to bring people closer together," said Gonzalez.
The compact calls for regular meetings and an annual report to be delivered to the City Council.