Mayor Wellington E. Webb (D - Denver, CO)

Local Arts Leadership
2001

The arts are a major part of Denver's redevelopment plan, thanks to Mayor Webb's strong belief in culture as a cornerstone to community and quality of life. Thus it comes as no surprise that total arts attendance in Denver exceeds home game attendance at all of Denver's major sports teams combined. In fact, Denver's demand for arts and culture prompted a major expansion of the city's cultural facilities in 1999, and the mayor oversaw the allocation of more than $200 million for the Denver Zoo, the Denver Art Museum, and Red Rocks Amphitheater. The Denver Art, Culture and Film Foundation was established by the mayor's wife Wilma J. Webb to support visual and performing arts—and the mayor has pledged to match more than $400,000 in private contributions with city resources specifically allocated for new sculpture for the city.

Mayor Webb's distinguished public service career began in 1972, when he was elected to the Colorado House of Representatives. Since that time, he has held several prominent positions, most recently President of the United States Conference of Mayors, as well as President of the National Conference of Black Mayors. Hailed by magazines such as Newsweek, Fortune and Ebony for cultural and cosmopolitan excellence, Mayor Webb is widely considered one of the most influential civic leaders of our time. "I believe deeply that my administration's commitment to the arts is simply a reflection of our community's desire to reaffirm its artistic vibrancy," he says. Now in his third term, Mayor Webb has much to show for his efforts, including a state-of-the-art airport with an unprecedented art collection valued at over $9 million; a dedicated cultural district in the city's Lower Downtown neighborhood; a popular summer youth employment program to engage local teens in productive, creative work as a way to promote life skills and responsibility; a Tony Award-winning regional theater company and thriving symphony, brought back from bankruptcy by the mayor's public concert initiative; and his city's growing reputation as a wonderful place to live, work and raise a family. The mayor and his wife, a former six-term Colorado State Representative and Regional Representative for the U.S. Secretary of Labor, have four grown children.