Thursday, July 19, 2012

Americans for the Arts, the nation’s leading nonprofit organization for advancing the arts and arts education, and the National Lieutenant Governors Association (NLGA) today presented Louisiana Lieutenant Governor Jay Dardenne with the Public Leadership in the Arts Award for State Arts Leadership , which honors a public official who has demonstrated outstanding leadership in the advancement of the arts at the state level.  Lt. Governor Dardenne will receive his award today at the NLGA’s Annual Conference in Chicago.

Since taking office in 2010, Lieutenant Governor Jay Dardenne has been the driving force for the arts in Louisiana.  He assumed all responsibilities of the Secretary of the Department of Culture, Recreation and Tourism as one of the duties of the lieutenant governor; the savings realized from eliminating this position were plowed back into the department to support programmatic efforts. He promoted the establishment of 59 cultural districts in 34 towns and 24 parishes across the state with a net growth of 682 new businesses, 168 of which are cultural businesses; 1,358 events took place in cultural districts, attended by 5.5 million people. In addition, he created a new tourism brand "Louisiana: Pick Your Passion," to spotlight Louisiana’s food, music, festivals and the cultural diversity.  As a state senator, he authored legislation establishing Louisiana's aggressive film tax credit program, launching a major new industry for Louisiana, which now ranks third in the nation (behind California and New York) as a destination for movie making.

“Lt. Governor Dardenne has been a true champion for the arts in Louisiana,” said Robert L. Lynch, president and CEO of Americans for the Arts. “His belief that the arts are a vital economic driver, his leadership and his dedication to supporting Louisiana’s vibrant arts industry make him the perfect choice for the Public Leadership in  the Arts Award.”

“Our authentic culture has allowed Louisianians to embrace the arts throughout our 200 year history,” Lt. Governor Jay Dardenne said.  “This award is a distinct honor for me but an even bigger tribute to the artistic legacy of Louisiana.”

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

Catherine Brandt Vacovsky