In early 2007, a State House Artists Working Group was formed to explore how the Commonwealth of Massachusetts could better support the artist community and how to foster a direct dialog with individual artists working in all disciplines. The Working Group was founded by key staff members of the Joint Committee on Tourism, Arts and Cultural Development, the Joint Committee on Economic Development and Emerging Technologies, the Financial Education Division of the State Treasurer's Office and the founders of ArtistsUndertheDome.org. In June 2007, the Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development joined and in early 2008 the Joint Committee of Community Development and Small Businesses also joined the working group. In fall of 2008 the Massachusetts Artists Leaders Coalition and the Massachusetts Cultural Council became official members of the working group.
The Working Group's first public event "Artists Under the Dome: Discover how the Commonwealth fosters creativity", was held on May 17th 2007. It was a brown bag lunch gathering and networking event at the State House. The then State Treasurer, Timothy P. Cahill, welcomed the artists to the State House. Over 40 artists attended the meeting.
Inspired by the attendance and enthusiasm of the artists attending this event, the Working Group realized how important it would be to create an annual event in which the Commonwealth invited individual artists of all disciplines to the State House. It also became clear that a direct dialog between State policy makers and the artist community was mutually beneficial and resulted with great ideas on how to improve and better support the State's artist community.
The Working Group members began working over the summer and fall to plan the first annual "Artists Under the Dome" event for November 8, 2007. It is hoped this annual event will grow each year and will help to make Massachusetts one of, if not the best, State in the Nation for artists of all disciplines.
The Working Group' s informal motto is: "We are going to have fun and get a lot done!"
ArtistsUndertheDome.org- this website- was launched in October 2007. It is an artist run website and is run by inkind donation of artists' time and resources. This website strives to inform Massachusetts artists of the State House Artist Working Group's efforts and also helps to keep artists informed of Statewide efforts and public policy initiatives that may impact their livelihoods. This site acts a resource and tool for individual artists of all disciplines. Our goal is to empower individual artists to become more engaged with the democratic process and public policy making.