Hitchcock Center Hosts Statewide Cultural Access Launch

January 17, 2020

Anita Walker, Executive Director of the Mass Cultural Council

Mass Cultural Council and the Massachusetts Health Connector launched the ConnectorCare Card to Culture program at the Hitchcock Center on Friday, January 17. This unique program is designed to facilitate access for all Massachusetts residents to cultural facilities, including the Hitchcock Center, across the state. Residents with EBT, WIC, or Connector Care cards are eligible for benefits at over 100 cultural organizations across the state.

Through this expanded program, the Hitchcock Center is able to provide low-income families with free membership and low- or no-cost programs that help them discover the wonders of our natural world and gain deeper connection to the outdoors. The benefits of outdoor education is well documented by research showing that they can significantly improve the cognitive, physical and emotional health and well-being of people, especially children, a primary goal of the ConnectorCard to Culture program.

Louis Gutierrez, Executive Director of the Massachusetts Health Connector

“We are excited to be partnering with the Health Connector to help assure that everybody in Massachusetts has health insurance and that everyone can enjoy the health benefits of cultural participation,” said Anita Walker, Executive Director of the Mass Cultural Council. “We know that people who participate in the arts and culture are 60 percent healthier than those who don’t. This groundbreaking partnership will open doors to cultural experiences that ​not only entertain and inspire but are also a protective factor for health and well-being.”

“The Health Connector believes that having access to affordable coverage means residents can live healthier, happier lives, and having access to the great cultural institutions in Massachusetts is part of that happier, healthier lifestyle,” said Louis Gutierrez, Executive Director of the Massachusetts Health Connector. “The ConnectorCare Card to Culture program is a great way to open doors to our members so they can fully experience our state’s vibrant arts and culture institutions. This partnership with the Mass Cultural Council is the first of its kind for a state-based health insurance exchange, and we are pleased to again be national leaders in innovation for health and well-being.”

State Representative Mindy Domb speaking at the Connector Care Card to Culture Launch.

The Hitchcock Center has been a member of this program from day one when it joined the pilot EBT Card to Culture project in 2017. With the launch of added benefits from WIC and ConnectorCare cards in 2020, the Hitchcock Center continues to make environmental education resources available to all. To date, 35 households, or approximately 120 individuals, have received free Hitchcock family memberships and have participated in 104 of our environmental education programs.

“Hitchcock Center for the Environment has fully-embraced Mass Cultural Council’s vision of access to arts and culture for all residents. They were one of the first organizations to offer a discount to EBT cardholders when we launched the EBT Card to Culture program in 2017, and, since that time they have generously expanded their partnership with us to also include discounts for WIC and ConnectorCare families as well.  Hitchcock Center for the Environment has gone above and beyond by offering benefits across the full breadth of their programming, including a fully complimentary Family Membership, qualification for their Nature Summer Camp scholarship program, and additional discounts to their Community Programs. The success of our Card to Culture programs is due, in large part, to the unwavering enthusiasm, support and partnership of organizations like the Hitchcock Center. Thank you for embracing the #powerofculture in western Mass!” Anita Walker, Executive Director, Mass Cultural Council.

From all of us at the Hitchcock Center, we wish to thank the Mass Cultural Council and the Massachusetts Health Connection for their visionary leadership in creating greater access to the natural and cultural riches of our community and state.

Learn more about the ConnectorCare Card to Culture program  at the Hitchcock Center.

Read the full press release from the Mass Cultural Council.

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