New director of Mass Cultural Council is tasked with helping rebuild after pandemic

Oct 10, 2021

Reviving arts and cultural organizations in Massachusetts devastated by the economic impact of the pandemic has become largely the responsibility of a playwright and theater director, who has become the new Executive Director of the Massachusetts Cultural Council.

Michael Bobbitt, formerly of the New Repertory Theatre in Watertown, succeeded Anita Walker, who led the Cultural Council for more than 13 years.

And Another Thing devotes Mondays to individuals. We discuss their accomplishments, contributions to society and the challenges that they face. In a Monday Conversation Michael Bobbitt described his early attraction to the arts, his transition from an arts creator to a planner and funder and the impact of COVID-19 on Massachusetts arts organizations.

Bobbitt moved into his new position at difficult and delicate time. The Massachusetts Cultural Council estimates artists across the state lost more than $30 million in just the first year of the pandemic and that concert halls, theaters, and galleries lost $588 million.

Bobbitt told And Another Thing such losses require reexaminations of all assumptions about future arts funding. “The arts sector is rethinking things that I think are sacred cows, and things to not be touched. They all have to be touched. You have to go back and look at what innovation looks like, what redesigning your business models look like so that we can survive,” Bobbitt says.