Mayor Vincent A. Cianci, Jr. (D - Providence, RI)

Local Arts Leadership
2000

The longest-sitting mayor of Providence, Rhode Island and of any American city with a population of 100,000 or more, Mayor Buddy Cianci has spearheaded the renaissance of one of the hippest, most vibrant and economically thriving cities in America. By adopting innovative legislation to grant tax exemptions to artists living or working in the downtown Arts and Entertainment district, Providence is now the home to more artists per capita than any other American city. After offering incentives to develop abandoned downtown buildings for commercial and residential use, the city successfully introduced and backed legislation at the state level providing income tax and sales tax breaks for artists who live and work in refurbished upper floor loft and studio spaces. In 1997, the city was recognized by Swing magazine as "The Best Place to Be and Artist." An outspoken champion of inner city revitalization and urban design and landscape, Mayor Cianci received the prestigious National Endowment for the Arts design award for his dynamic revitalization project that moved three Providence rivers to create magnificent river walks as well as a waterfront park and amphitheater, which serve as a focal point for tourism, arts and cultural events. Mayor Cianci is also credited with securing the necessary funds to save the Providence Performing Arts Center and the Trinity Repertory Company, creating the Convergence Arts Festival, and supporting the Gallery Night Providence with an art trolley.

Mayor Cianci has also been instrumental in attracting film and television production to the city and state. In 1997 alone, eight feature films were shot in Providence and nearby towns. The Mayor's Film Commission played a key role in landing the NBC series "Providence." Mayor Cianci has also received national recognition for his accomplishments. He was named "America's Most Innovative Mayor" by the American Association for Government Officials. Taking his cultural influence abroad, he was instrumental in developing a creative friendship pact with Florence, Italy. As part of the cultural exchange, an exhibit of late Renaissance portraits from the famed Uffizi Gallery opened at Brown University's Bell Art Gallery in September 1999. Mayor Cianci is an active member of the United States Conference of Mayors' Arts and Culture Committee, campaigning for the preservation of the National Endowment for the Arts. Born in Providence, he has one daughter, Nicole, and two grandchildren, Olivia and Joseph.