Representative Sidney R. Yates (D-IL)

Lifetime Achievement Award
1997

Congressman Sidney R. Yates, representing the Ninth Congressional District of Illinois, was first elected to the House of Representatives in 1948, and is currently serving his 24th term. A member of the House Appropriations Committee, he is Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on the Interior and Related Agencies, which provides annual appropriations for the National Endowments for the Arts and Humanities. Congressman Yates has earned wide respect for his energetic advocacy of the arts as well as for his integrity, parliamentary skills and mastery of the appropriation process. His passion for the arts is matched by the exceptional breadth of his knowledge about every discipline.

Born in Chicago, he was educated in the Chicago public schools and graduated from the University of Chicago and from the University of Chicago Law School. With two older brothers working as vaudeville booking agents, Congressman Yates was able to attend the theater often as a child, and also developed a keen love of opera and modern painting.

In 1981, when the National Endowment for the Arts was faced with a proposed 50 percent budget cut, Congressman Yates held extensive public hearings and succeeded in getting the cuts restored. He is undoubtedly one of the most prominent champions for the agency. In the words of many, "Sidney Yates is the greatest friend the arts have in America today."