Lackawanna County Commission (PA)
Each year, Americans for the Arts recognizes elected officials and legendary artists who have exhibited outstanding leadership in the advancement of the arts at the national, state, and local levels. Americans for the Arts has selected the Lackawanna County Commission to receive the 2006 County Leadership in the Arts Award. The award is jointly issued by Americans for the Arts and the National Association of Counties (NACo) to honor an elected county board or individual leader whose leadership and role in advancement of the arts and arts education within their community has provided heightened visibility to the value of the arts.
The Lackawanna County Commission was chosen for its dedication to supporting the arts in its area and incorporating culture into the county’s economic development plan. The award was presented on Monday, August 7, in Chicago during NACo's annual meeting. This is the first time that a county in the commonwealth of Pennsylvania has received such an award. In 2004, under the leadership of County Commissioners A.J. Munchak and Robert C. Cordaro, an innovative Education and Culture fee was created to encourage and support artistic endeavors within Lackawanna County. The approximately $1.2 million in revenue generated by this fee was dedicated to funding regional arts assets as well as arts and education activities. This is the first time in county history that the arts were included as a line item in the budget.
The Lackawanna County Commissioners dedicated more than $750,000 to support three anchor institutions: the Scranton Cultural Center, the Everhart Museum, and the Lackawanna County Library System. The remaining funds were targeted to make project grants available to artists and arts organizations as well as to fund innovative public art projects. Since then, the Lackawanna County Commissioners created the County Office on Education and Culture, hired a full-time director of education and culture, and formed a partnership with the city of Scranton to support the creation of a large artist live/work space in Scranton.