Elected officials are inundated with information, but they are more likely to read an article published by their own association and are more likely to trust a research report that is endorsed by their group. These public partnerships play a vital role in communicating the value of the arts and arts education to elected officials.
These partners are essential for successful arts funding and policy nationwide. Our partnerships take on different characteristics, but generally include providing speakers for their association conferences, writing articles in their newsletters, our jointly presented Public Leadership in the Arts Award to each level of official, and serving as a resource to the associations' staff and members. Lastly, the associations partner with Americans for the Arts on research reports and projects such as the Arts & Economic Prosperity IV study.
The United States Conference of Mayors
The United States Conference of Mayors is the oldest Americans for the Arts public partner, dating back almost 25 years. Each year, Americans for the Arts sponsors an arts breakfast at the USCM’s Winter Meeting in Washington, DC where we present our Public Leadership in the Arts Award to two mayors (one of a city with a population of 100,000 or greater and one with a population of less than 100,000), a governor, and one or two nationally known artists.
At the USCM, the arts and culture come under the authority of the Tourism, Arts, Parks, Entertainment and Sports (TAPES) Committee, chaired by New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu. Americans for the Arts works with Mayor Landrieu and the TAPES Committee to submit various arts-related resolutions for consideration and adoption by the committee and then the entire conference. We use these resolutions throughout the year to encourage other elected officials to support the arts in their community or state.
2012 Resolutions Passed by the USCM Supporting the Arts:
- Arts Education
- National Arts and Humanities Month
- Boosting Cultural Tourism
- Economic Impact Study of the Nonprofit Arts & Culture Industry
- Encouraging Business Partnerships with the Arts
- Federal Funding for the Arts, Humanities and Museums
"Mayors understand the connection between the arts industry and city revenues. Arts activity creates thousands of direct and indirect jobs and generates billions in government and business revenues. The arts also make our cities destinations for tourists, help attract and retain businesses, and play an important role in the economic revitalization of cities and the vibrancy of our neighborhoods."
- Philadelphia Mayor Michael A. Nutter, President, The United States Conference of Mayors 2012–2013
Have a question about our partnership with The United States Conference of Mayors? Please contact Nina Ozlu Tunceli.
National League of Cities
The National League of Cities(NLC) and Americans for the Arts established a public partnership in 2007 when they agreed to become a national partner for the Arts & Economic Prosperity III report. Since then, Americans for the Arts has written articles for NLC’s monthly newspaper (now a blog) and has spoken at its annual conference. NLC also recently renewed its sponsorship of our Arts & Economic Prosperity IV.
At the NLC, the Human Development Committee proposes policies relating to the arts and culture. The committee is chaired by Mayor Van R. Johnson, Sr. of Savannah, GA. The adopted federal policy positions guide the NLC’s federal advocacy efforts and focus on federal actions, programs, and proposals that directly impact municipalities.
National Association of Counties
The National Association of Counties (NACo) and Americans for the Arts established a partnership in 1999 when the first annual award presentation for County Arts Leadership, part of Americans for the Arts' Public Leadership in the Arts Awards series, was presented at the NACo Arts Luncheon at its annual conference. Since then, Americans for the Arts has gone on to write articles for NACo News, its monthly publication, provided speakers at its conferences, and serve as an arts resource to its staff and members.
The NACo Arts Commission was established in 1997. The current Commission chair is William Doherty, Commissioner of Barnstable County, MA. Americans for the Arts Senior Director of State and Local Government Affairs has served on the Commission since 2006 and is a full voting member. Each year, Americans for the Arts sponsors a Commission dinner and awards ceremony at NACo’s annual conference.
"The benefit of working with Americans for the Arts is that they give us data that helps us understand the impact of the arts locally, as well as across the nation. The arts have such a tremendous impact, but we must show the community the hard numbers; Americans for the Arts gives us those numbers to demonstrate direct economic impact. This is an invaluable partnership. We are grateful for the work they do in helping us show what an important asset the arts are in Linn County and in counties across the nation."
Linn County, IA Supervisor Linda Langston, President, National Association of Counties
National Conference of State Legislatures
The National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) and Americans for the Arts have partnered to present a state legislator with an award for State Arts Leadership at NCSL’s annual conference each year since 2006. The award is part of Americans for the Arts Public Leadership in the Arts Awards series and is presented at a general session during its annual conference in front of approximately 3,000 legislators and legislative staff.
NCSL’s Labor and Economic Development Committee has jurisdiction over arts and culture within the organization. The current co-chairs are Representative Anna Fairclough of Alaska and Senator Gary D. LeBeau of Connecticut. Each year, Americans for the Arts sponsors a committee luncheon/session focusing on the arts and culture.
Every third year, NCSL debates and renews a policy statement on the arts and culture. The current policy expires in 2013, and Americans for the Arts will work with NCSL to renew the policy.
“One of the keys to building and sustaining communities and promoting high quality economic development is support and funding of the arts. We have witnessed, in some states, decreased support of the arts which is counterproductive and a major step backward. We need to emphasize that potential employers look at enrichment of lives as well as schools, hospitals, libraries, and other essential services for the communities in which they want to locate. We need to continue—and increase—our support for the arts. In today’s competitive marketplace, it has never been truer that supporting the arts means business.”
- Kansas State Senator Steve Morris, Member, National Conference of State Legislatures
National Lieutenant Governors Association
The National Lieutenant Governors Association (NLGA) and Americans for the Arts established a partnership in 2006. Each year at the NLGA Annual Conference, Americans for the Arts hosts a reception and presents a lieutenant governor with a State Arts Leadership Award as a part of the Public Leadership in Arts Awards series.
Americans for the Arts holds a unique position at NLGA as the only organization that is officially recognized as a partner of NLGA. Every five years, most recently in 2011, NLGA reviews and renews this partnership, which allows Americans for the Arts staff to present the Public Leadership in the Arts Award, attend every national meeting, and suggest speakers. NLGA is currently chaired by Massachusetts Lt. Gov. Tim Murray.
Resolutions Passed by the NLGA Supporting the Arts:
- Resolution in Support of Recognizing the Importance of the Arts to the United States and its Economy: Building Healthier States Through the Arts [2011, PDF]
- Resolution To Continue The Public Leadership In The Arts Award [2010, PDF]
- Honoring Americans for the Arts on their 50th Anniversary 
- Urges Support Of The National Arts and Humanities Month [2008, PDF]
- In Support of the Public Awareness Campaign for Arts Education [2008, PDF]
- Partnership Resolution [2006, PDF]
National Governors Association
Within the National Governors Association (NGA), the the Economic Development and Commerce Committee has jurisdiction over arts and culture. The current committee chair is Gov. Tom Corbett of Pennsylvania. The NGA Center for Best Practices provides governors with information about how to use the arts effectively in their states to unite communities, create economic opportunity, and improve the quality of life. They also produced a report in 2012, New Engines of Growth: Five Roles for Arts, Culture and Design.
Each year, Americans for the Arts presents a State Arts Leadership Award as a part of the Public Leadership in Arts Awards series to a governor. Further, Americans for the Arts staff works with NGA to produce periodic research reports in conjunction with the National Endowment for the Arts.
“A vibrant arts environment stimulates and sustains a richer quality of life and economic health. In Delaware, where the arts are among our top 10 employers, we see how the arts contribute to the renaissance of downtown areas, enhance our educational system, and attract new businesses and residents to the state.”
The Honorable Jack Markell, Governor of Delaware and Member of the National Governors Association