Kathleen Bitetti: Artists Under the Dome

When it comes to art and politics, Massachusetts artists have a champion on their side thanks to the hard work and determination of Kathleen Bitetti. We caught up with the ever busy Kathy to find out a little bit more about herself and the upcoming free 7th Annual Artists Under the Dome event for Massachusetts artists of all disciplines.

DeCordova_visitAs a tireless advocate for Massachusetts artists, could you tell us about the genesis of Massachusetts Artists Leaders Coalition (MALC)? Thank for you very kind words! MALC was originally incubated by the now defunct Artists Foundation* and it was founded due to the 2008 federal battle of Orphan Works.

A group of Massachusetts artists leaders of all disciplines realized that we needed a state wide coalition to work together to ensure that artists of all disciplines were at the policy making table. The first meeting was held in the kitchen of Ja-nae Duane’s former loft space in Fort Point. MALC was formed after the 1st Artists Under the Dome Event in 2007.

* I was the executive director of the AF from 1992 to 2009.

How many hats do you wear? Daughter, sister, neighbor, artist, curator/art administrator, public policy nerd, activist, advocate, and banana bread baker.

In one sentence, sum up what the upcoming Seventh Annual Artists Under the Dome Event 2013 is. It is a free event for artists of all disciplines of the Commonwealth to come to the State House to be thanked for all we do by the elected officials, state agencies and the legislature and it is a key day for all of us to also advocate for needed public policy for our community.

Why should artists attend the Under the Dome Event? It is a fun event, you meet great people, and it is wonderful to be acknowledged for all artists contribute to this Commonwealth. Some incredible policy initiatives have come from these annual events! We are the only state that has such an event in the U.S.

For You Project

What is the best advice you would give a working artist in Massachusetts? Cultivate a creative support network for yourself and also reach out to those who represent you on a local, state, regional, and federal level and their staff. Policy makers and their teams want to hear from you. On practical level, get a box of thank you notes and send them to folks who help you in your journey. People save cards not emails.

How does your own curatorial experience and art making influence your work as an advocate for artists? I don’t see them as separate to be honest. On a basic level, I hope to bring people together and to help create a space for conversation, learning and reflection, both in the individual and within the greater community, when appropriate.

What’s the most surprising comment you’ve received about your own work? It being censored.

Spring, Summer, Winter or Fall? All of them.

The unauthorized title of your autobiography is: Kathleen Bitetti: Banana Bread Diplomacy and Tales of an Art Ninja & Occasional Princess.

The 7th Annual Artists Under the Dome Event at the Massachusetts State House’s Great Hall, Wednesday, November 13, 2013 from 10am to 2pm, is an opportunity for Massachusetts artists working in all disciplines (visual arts, literary, performing, crafts, new media, etc.) to meet with their elected officials and to hear legislators discuss issues around the arts in Massachusetts. It’s also an opportunity for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts to thank artists for all for they contribute to our state’s economy and quality of life. Massachusetts is the only state in the country to have such an event. Register here.

Image credit: All photographs courtesy of Kathleen Bitetti. Top: Kathleen Bitetti visiting the deCordova Sculpture Park and Museum, Lincoln, MA. Bottom: “For You Project” by Kathleen Bitetti.

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