Story 09: Beyond Museum Walls

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Sidebar: Alphabet Soup Collaboratives

Written by Patricia A. Steuert

The late '60s and early '70s saw the beginning of several collaborative organizations in the Boston area that strengthened area cultural institutions and provided collegial support for their directors. Directors from The Children's Museum, Sturbridge Village, Institute of Contemporary Art, the Museum of Science, CityStage, Boston Ballet and many others began to meet regularly to share mutual concerns and challenges. This led to the formation of the Massachusetts Cultural Alliance (MCA), an organization that worked to acquire funding for school visits, lower costs for insurance, etc. MCA evolved into the Mass. Council on the Arts, Humanities and Sciences (MCAHS) before becoming what is known today as the Mass. Cultural Council (MCC),which administers state funding for the arts.

In 1974 when Boston desegregation plans were being developed, the MCA, with leadership from Mike Spock and headed by Anne Hawley, later director of the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, saw the need for a new organization. The Cultural Education Collaborative (CEC) was created to administer state funds granted to cultural institutions and school partnerships. CEC administered innovative programs to bring museum staff, dancers, theater people and other artists into the schools for multiple sessions working directly with students from elementary grades through high school. CEC programs provided ways for cultural organizations to help mitigate the upheaval in the schools and brought grant money to participating schools and cultural institutions. CEC functioned for a decade involving many cultural groups and thousands of Boston school children.

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