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NEWS RELEASE

For immediate release - February 15, 2007
Press Contact: J. M. Bailey (617) 971-9383

Boston Cyberarts Festival Receives 2007 Commonwealth Award

Award in Creative Economy category recognizes the Festival's contribution as an engine of economic activity in Massachusetts

Boston, MA — The Boston Cyberarts Festival has been selected as a recipient of Massachusetts’ 2007 Commonwealth Award, the state’s highest honor in the arts, humanities and sciences. The Awards are given biennially by the Massachusetts Cultural Council (MCC), and are chosen by a committee of cultural and business leaders from a pool of nominations received from across the state. The Commonwealth Awards will be presented at a State House ceremony on Wednesday, March 7 from 2:30-4:00 p.m., sponsored by Bank of America.

George Fifield, Director of the Boston Cyberarts Festival, said: “We are deeply honored to be recognized with this year’s Commonwealth Award. The award really belongs to the hundreds of artists, organizations, and technology professionals whose energy and creativity over the past ten years have contributed to making the Festival such an exciting event.” He added, “We’re also pleased that we have had the opportunity to provide an international showcase, not just for the artists of the Commonwealth, but also for the vital high-technology industry, which is so important to Massachusetts.”

Boston Cyberarts Festival’s award is in the Creative Economy category, which recognizes an individual or group that has taken the lead in integrating arts and culture into successful efforts to spur new economic activity, create jobs, and generate income. The most recent Festival, with a budget of less than $200,000, generated a regional economic impact of almost $3 million and created more than 30 full time jobs, according to a study by the Center for Policy Analysis at UMass Dartmouth.

"The Boston Cyberarts Festival is a dynamic organization that has positioned Massachusetts as a leader in art and technology in all media," said MCC Executive Director Mary Kelley. "Bringing together hundreds of artists, collaborators and funders, the Cyberarts Festival is a vibrant example of a successful creative economy model. It is fitting that we honor Boston Cyberarts Festival with our first Commonwealth Award in the category of Creative Economy."

Fifield noted that the MCC provided the initial seed funding for the Festival in 1997, and said “The MCC was in the forefront of recognizing the unique role that the arts can play in economic development, and we commend and thank them for their support.”

The Commonwealth Awards have been given biennially since 1993. Past winners include Yo Yo Ma, David McCullough, Raw Art Works of Lynn, Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival, North Bennett Street School, Somerville Arts Council, and the DeCordova Museum and Sculpture Park. In addition to the Boston Cyberarts Festival, four other individuals and organizations are being recognized with Commonwealth Awards in 2007: the Revolving Museum of Lowell in the Community category; Ploughshares in the Cultural Organization category; Express Yourself of Peabody for Education; and Peter O’Connell of Brookfield for Individual Achievement.


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