On November 2nd 2016, Massachusetts artists of all disciplines, elected officials, policy makers, and state house staffers gathered to attend the 10th annual Artists Under the Dome event in the Massachusetts State House’s Great Hall. Massachusetts is the only state to hold such an annual event to thank artists for all they contribute to the Commonwealth’s economy and quality of life.
The 2016 event was a collaboration by The Massachusetts State Treasury, the Joint Committee on Tourism, Arts and Cultural Development, the Massachusetts Artists Leaders Coalition, the Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development, the Massachusetts Cultural Council, and the State House’s Cultural Caucus – with special thanks to the Epicenter Community.
The morning speaking program featured a welcome by Kathleen Bitetti (Visual Artist & Cofounder of MALC) and Cindy Cuba Clements – (Visual Artist, Mass Cultural Council Board Member & Chair of MCC’s Grants Committee). The following individuals gave short remarks as part of the morning speaking program:
- State Treasurer Deborah B. Goldberg
- Nam Pham – Assistant Secretary of Business Development & International Trade at the Massachusetts Executive Office of Housing & Economic Development
- State Representative Smitty Pignatelli – House Vice Chair of the Joint Committee on Tourism, Arts & Cultural Development (TACD) & Co-Chair of the Cultural Caucus
It was acknowledged during the morning speaking program that Representative Pignatelli has attended all 10 of the Artists Under the Dome events and that he has served on the Joint TACD Committee since its founding. As part of the acknowledgement, Ja-Nae Duane (Musician, Opera Singer, Author, and MALC Co-founder) sang Ave Maria to Rep Pignatelli (he is an avid opera fan).
Several other legislators attended the event, but did not speak: Senator Joan B. Lovely, Senator Michael Rodriques, Representative Jay Kaufman, Representative Christine Barber, Representative Paul Donato, Representative Kevin Honan, and Representative Denise Provost. Legislative Director & Counsel Stephanie Swanson attended on behalf of Senator Eric Lesser and Senator Sonia Chang-Diaz’s Senior Legislative Aide and point person on arts, Anthony Thomas, attended on her behalf.
After the speaking program, MALC, for the first time, inaugurated its “Champion of Artists Awards“. MALC Steering Committee member Erin Harris designed the awards and these awards will be given annually at the Artists Under the Dome event. The two awardees for 2016 were: Senator Daniel Wolf (Senate President Rosenberg spoke and accepted the award on his behalf) and State Representative Gloria Fox. MALC thanked both legislators for their direct work with MALC and for their dedicated service in supporting the artist community. Representative Fox also spoke and was given a standing ovation for her over 30 years of serving in the state legislature. Both Senator Wolf and Representative Fox did not run for re-election and their spirit and dedication to supporting the Commonwealth’s artists of all disciplines will be missed at the State House.
After the award ceremony, the annual group photo was taken of those attending the event on the State House’s Grand Staircase (image below).
There was a lunch time celebration for the 10th Anniversary featuring an anniversary cake (courtesy of the MCC) and music by Boston Musicians’ Association members: Therese DiMuzio, percussion; Ray Cavicchio, accordian; Dave Burdett, trumpet; Craig Ball, clarinet; and Angle Subero, trombone.
An afternoon panel unveiling MALC’s Labor Policy recommendations for the Commonwealth followed the lunch time celebration. The panel featured: David Slattery – Deputy Director of the Massachusetts Cultural Council and Helena Fruscio – Deputy Assistant Secretary of Innovation, Entrepreneurship and Technology for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and Industry Director for the Creative Economy. Also featured on the panel were MALC Steering Committee members: Gloretta Baynes (Visual Artist), Pat Hollenbeck (Musician & President of Boston Musicians’ Association), and Chuck Slavin (Union Member of SAG/AFTRA). The panel was co-moderated by Kathleen Bitetti (MALC) and Malia Lazu – Founder and Executive Director of the Epicenter Community.