Home Cultural The Commonwealth of Massachusetts: COVID-19 Cutural Impact Commission    

The Commonwealth of Massachusetts: COVID-19 Cutural Impact Commission    


STATE HOUSE, BOSTON 02133   Representative Carole Fiola                                                                and State Senator Edward Kennedy     

House Chair                                                                                                              and Chair     

April 27, 2021  

COVID-19 Cultural Impact Commission Announced

 Members of the COVID-19 Cultural Impact Commission, a special legislative commission established by the 2020 Economic Development Bill, have been named. The commission’s first meeting will be held virtually on Tuesday, May 4 at 1 p.m.  

  The commission, co-chaired by state Sen. Ed Kennedy (D-Lowell) and Rep. Carole Fiola (D-Fall River), the co-chairs of the Joint Committee on Tourism, Arts, and Cultural Development, is tasked with addressing the recovery of the creative and cultural sector.  

The COVID-19 pandemic has been devastating for the Commonwealth’s arts and cultural institutions, with the latest figures coming from the Mass Cultural Council showing a loss of $588 million. In addition to adding a great deal to our quality of life, arts and culture represent a significant economic sector in our state that we must help rebound and rebuild in the coming months and years. Prior to the pandemic, arts nonprofits in the Commonwealth supported more than 73,000 full-time jobs, generating more than $2.2 billion in total spending and bringing in nearly $100 million in state tax revenue.  

  The commission will hold a series of five meetings throughout May and June, with a final report with legislative recommendations delivered to the Legislature on June 30.  

  “I am honored to co-chair this commission and begin work assisting the cultural and creative sector’s rebuilding,” said Fiola. “When compiling this commission, we wanted to ensure that we included a diverse range of disciplines and geographic representation. The commission members are stakeholders who have experienced the pandemic firsthand and will guide our process to create lasting solutions for the sector.” 

  Members of the commission include:  

  Michael Bobbitt, Executive Director of the Massachusetts Cultural Council 

  Emily Ruddock, Executive Director of MassCreative  

  Dan Yaeger, member of the Commonwealth Association of Museums  

  Dennis Canty, a member of the Educational Theatre Association 

  The co-chairs, Sen. Kennedy and Rep. Fiola were tasked with appointing an addition seven members to round out the group, representing a diversity of geographic and disciplinary backgrounds.  

  Appointed Commission Members include: 

  James Russell, Executive Director of the Nantucket Historical Association, Representing the Nantucket Cultural District 

  Sara Bogosian, Executive Director of the Whistler House Museum of Art/Lowell Artists Association, Representing the Lowell Canalway Cultural District 

  Dawn Simmons, Executive Director of Stage Source  

  Magdalena Gomez, Current Poet Laureate of Springfield, award-winning performance poet, playwright, and teaching artist 

  Aminah Pilgrim, Humanist, artist, author, community organizer and award-winning educator 
 A. J. Pietrantone, Deputy Director of Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival, School, Archives, and Community Programs 
James Marsh, General Manager of the Lynn Auditorium and Community Development Director 

“This diverse commission brings together a group of people from around the Commonwealth with first-hand knowledge of how the arts and cultural industries work, the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on these sectors, and what needs to be done to facilitate a swift and meaningful recovery that will not only put them back on their feet, but make them stronger moving forward,” said Kennedy. “I look forward to this series of meetings, hearing from and brainstorming with everyone, and formulating a solid set of recommendations to present to the Legislature. The cultural and creative sectors are critical to our state’s economy and quality of life; addressing their needs is the only way we can truly recover from this pandemic.”  

  Virtual meetings will take place every other Tuesday at 1pm in the months of May and June as follows: 

 Tuesday, May 4th at 1pm 

Tuesday, May 18th at 1pm 

Tuesday, June 1st at 1pm 

Tuesday, June 15th at 1pm 

Tuesday, June 29th at 1pm  

The public can view the meetings online at: https://malegislature.gov/Commissions/Detail/551/Hearings