Bryan to Receive Award at the Americans for the Arts Annual Convention in San Antonio

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Americans for the Arts, the nation’s leading nonprofit organization for advancing the arts and arts education, announced today that it is presenting the 2012 Selina Roberts Ottum Award to John Bryan, founding president of CultureWorks, the arts and culture service and leadership organization for Richmond, VA. Given annually since 1991, the Selina Roberts Ottum Award recognizes outstanding contributions in the local arts agency field and is presented by Americans for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Arts. Mr. Bryan will receive his award on June 9 at the Americans for the Arts Annual Convention in San Antonio.

“We are honored to recognize Mr. Bryan for his dedicated commitment to ensuring the arts in Richmond and beyond continue to thrive,” said Robert L. Lynch, president and CEO of Americans for the Arts. “He is an extremely effective leader who understands the importance of community vision and works tirelessly towards promoting the arts and artists.”

As the leader of CultureWorks, Bryan has brought attention to and collaboration among the arts in Richmond. Under his leadership, Richmond’s mayor and city council have introduced an ordinance for a downtown arts and culture district. In addition, he has also spearheaded an annual gathering and celebration of more than 50 arts organizations, an annual strategic meeting of the arts organizations’ board chairs and new partnerships with the business community including co-presenting with the Greater Richmond Chamber. He also played an integral role in aligning Richmond’s 15 major corporations for a group exhibition of artworks from their collections. 

Prior to founding CultureWorks, Bryan served as associate dean for development at Virginia Commonwealth University's School of the Arts. While in this role, he was responsible for development campaigns up to $300 million and cultivating funding from individuals, corporations, foundations and government agencies. Also, he established the Arts Heritage Society, an organization created to recognize the individuals who help to ensure a bright future for the School of the Arts and its students. Bryan is also is a painter, published writer, frequent speaker and community volunteer, teaching  after-school art in inner-city public schools.  John also serves on the Americans for the Arts Private Sector Council which provides advice and guidance on programs designed to reach business and foundation leaders with information on the impact of the arts on the communities they serve.

”This is a great honor for me,” said Mr. Bryan. “I am grateful to Americans for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Arts, and to all the people I have worked with who have made Richmond such a vibrant arts community.”

Americans for the Arts is the leading nonprofit organization for advancing the arts and arts education 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

Catherine Brandt