Each year, in cooperation with the U.S. Conference of Mayors, 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. The recipient of the 2004 Legacy Award was Tony Bennett.
Tony Bennett has sold more than 50 million records worldwide and introduced dozens of pop standards into the “Great American Songbook” while winning 11 Grammy Awards, including the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award. He is also a dedicated painter whose interest in art began as a child, and his work has been exhibited in galleries around the world. Throughout his career, he has put his time into a number of humanitarian concerns, including the Juvenile Diabetes Foundation, the American Cancer Society, and the Save the Rainforest Foundation. Dubbed by Frank Sinatra as “the best singer in the business,” Mr. Bennett honored his late friend by conceiving the idea of the Frank Sinatra School of the Arts in Queens, which opened in fall 2001. The school offers an intensive specialized arts program in its full academic curriculum and provides an emphasis on community service by partnering with hospitals, day care centers, and senior citizen residences. Through a charitable nonprofit organization he established, Exploring the Arts, Mr. Bennett is committed to providing and enhancing arts education in cities across America.