Tuesday, March 29, 2011

press releaseContact:
Catherine Brandt
202-712-2054
cbrandt@artsusa.org

Americans for the Arts, the nation’s leading nonprofit organization for advancing the arts, in conjunction with The United States Conference of Mayors, will present the 2011 National Award for Congressional Arts Leadership to Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI). The award, which recognizes distinguished public service on behalf of the arts, will be presented at the Congressional Arts Kick Off during Arts Advocacy Day on Capitol Hill.

Senator Whitehouse was selected to receive the award because of his steadfast commitment to the arts, for his support of the National Endowment for the Arts and his service on the National Council on the Arts, which gives him a unique perspective into the role the federal government can play in supporting the nonprofit arts throughout the country. Senator Whitehouse maintains an excellent arts record in the Senate, including votes, co-sponsorship of legislation and membership in the Senate Cultural Caucus. The Senator is also recognized for his efforts in supporting the arts in his home state of Rhode Island.

“The arts support thousands of jobs in Rhode Island, and are an important part of our American way of life,” said Whitehouse. “I’m honored to receive this award from Americans for the Arts and will continue working to help our arts communities thrive.”

"Senator Whitehouse has been an extraordinary leader on Capitol Hill for the arts," said Robert L. Lynch, president and CEO of Americans for the Arts. "His dedication and hard work for the arts in the Senate is invaluable not only to his home state but to citizens nationwide. We are very pleased to honor and recognize his extraordinary dedication to advancing the arts for all Americans.”

The National Award for Congressional Arts Leadership is part of a series of Public Leadership in the Arts Awards given annually by Americans for the Arts and The United States Conference of Mayors since 1997.

“Each year, we honor those leaders who have significantly advanced the arts through public service,” said U.S. Conference of Mayors CEO and Executive Director Tom Cochran. “His leadership on the arts in the Senate has been a modern day ‘profile in courage.’"

Previous recipients of the Congressional Arts Leadership Award include:

2010     Speaker Nancy Pelosi (CA)
2009     Representative John Lewis (GA)
2008     Senator Patrick Leahy (VT)
2007     Representative Betty McCollum (MN)
2006     Representative Jim Leach (IA)
2005     Representative Christopher Shays (CT)
2004     Representative David Obey (WI)
2003     Senator Thad Cochran (MS)
2002     Representative Steve Horn (CA)
2001     Representative Norm Dicks (WA)
2000     Senator Robert Bennett (UT) and Representative Nancy Johnson (CT)
1999     Senator Edward M. Kennedy (MA) and Representative Michael Castle (DE)
1998     Representative Louise M. Slaughter (NY) and Senator Slade Gorton (WA)
1997     Representative Rick Lazio (NY) and Senator James M. Jeffords (VT)

Americans for the Arts thanks to Ovation, the only television network dedicated to art and contemporary culture, for its generous support of Arts Advocacy Day.

Americans for the Arts is the leading nonprofit organization for advancing the arts in America. With offices in Washington, D.C. and New York City, it has a record of more than 50 years of service. Americans for the Arts is dedicated to representing and serving local communities and creating opportunities for every American to participate in and appreciate all forms of the arts. Additional information is available at www.AmericansForTheArts.org.

The U.S. Conference of Mayors is the official nonpartisan organization of cities with populations of 30,000 or more. There are 1,139 such cities in the country today, each represented in the Conference by its chief elected official, the Mayor. Additional information is available at www.USMayors.org.