Lt. Gov. Sheila Simon (D-IL)

Lieutenant Governors Arts Leadership


Illinois Lieutenant Governor Sheila Simon was presented with the 2013 Public Leadership in the Arts Award for State Arts Leadership. The award was presented with the National Lieutenant Governor’s Association (NLGA) at their Annual Conference in Oklahoma City.

“Lt. Governor Simon is a true champion for the arts in Illinois,” said Robert L. Lynch, President and CEO of Americans for the Arts. “She is the perfect choice for the Public Leadership in the Arts Award because she believes that the arts are not only a vital economic driver, but also essential to the academic and social development of every child in the state.”

Since taking office in January of 2011, Lieutenant Governor Sheila Simon has been a strong and vocal champion for the arts, culture, and arts education in Illinois. As Governor Pat Quinn’s point person on education reform, Lt. Governor Simon has helped spearhead efforts to strengthen arts education. Most recently, in June of 2013, Lt. Governor Simon helped launch the Illinois Arts Education Advisory Committee, a diverse and experienced group of leaders tasked with developing a new state-level policy agenda for increasing arts education access, equity, and quality in Illinois.

Prior to her tenure as Lt. Governor, Simon served with distinction for five years as a member of the Illinois Arts Council (2005-2010). Her extensive knowledge and commitment to the arts and to humanitarian endeavors brought a unique voice to the mission of the Illinois Arts Council. A musician and artist in her own right, she sings and the plays the banjo and bassoon with her band, Loose Gravel, an eclectic blues and boogie based band with traces of folk, rock, country, funk, and lush vocal harmonies, formed in 1998.

“When students have access to arts education, they are more successful in and out of the classroom,” said Lt. Governor Simon. “It is important that Illinois leaders work together to stabilize the public pension system, preserve funding for education, and allow students to express themselves through art, music, theater, and other programs.”

“Lt. Governor Sheila Simon is authentically committed to creating a state where the arts thrive," stated Ra Joy, Executive Director of Arts Alliance Illinois. "Her focus on making high-quality arts education experiences more accessible in Illinois has helped lay the groundwork for meaningful policy improvements. On behalf of Arts Alliance Illinois and our many partners, we were proud to nominate Lt. Governor Sheila Simon for this prestigious award.”