WMass institutions honored in Commonwealth Awards

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BOSTON (WWLP) – It’s one of the highest honors in arts and entertainment in Massachusetts. The Commonwealth Awards only take place every two years, and they highlight some of the best and brightest across the state in the field of the arts.

People filled the Great Hall of the State House as the Massachusetts Cultural Council presented the 2015 awards. Sixteen individuals and institutions were honored for their achievements in the arts, humanities and sciences.

Springfield public television station WGBY, The Enchanted Circle Theater in Holyoke, and The Hitchcock Center in Amherst were all recognized at Tuesday’s event.

The Commonwealth Awards also highlights the importance of entertainment in today’s economy.

22News talked to the Chairman of the Tourism, Arts and Culture Committee, Sen. Eric Lesser (D-Longmeadow), who says that the state needs to do a better job promoting entertainment in western Massachusetts.

“When visitors come to our area, they spend money on shopping, on dining, on hotels, on all those things, so it spreads out to the rest of the economy. So, that will be a huge priority, is more promotion,” Lesser said.

Arts and culture is the third-largest job creator in western Massachusetts.

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