Monday, July 16, 2012

Americans for the Arts, the nation’s leading nonprofit organization for advancing the arts and arts education, in conjunction with the National Association of Counties (NACo) will present the 2012 National Award for County Arts Leadership to Montgomery County, OH’s Board of Commissioners. The board will receive its award today at NACo’s annual conference, which is being held this year in Pittsburgh.

The Board of County Commissioners of Montgomery County, OH has continued to support the arts even during economically tough times. In its 2010 strategic planning, the Commissioners stated that "amenities are essential including: recreation, arts and culture, festivals and family-based activities." In their plan they committed to securing resources to continue to fund arts and cultural programs and to work with the City of Dayton to revive the urban core with a particular emphasis on creating a sense of place while attracting and retaining the creative class.

They are the sole funder (more than $24 million) of the Montgomery County Arts and Cultural District, and they are the sole owners of two historic buildings: The Old Courthouse and Memorial Hall, operated through a public-private partnership with Dayton History, Montgomery County's official historical organization.  In addition, they lead a comprehensive cultural plan which called for the funding of the county’s visual arts, ballet, opera, theatre, museums, performing arts, folk arts, dance, symphony, public radio, television, arts education and historic preservation; the creation of Culture Works (the merger of the local arts council and the united arts fund); the construction of the Metropolitan Arts Center, which houses several small and mid-size arts organizations; and the building of the state-of-the-art Schuster Performing Arts Center.

“The Board of County Commissioners in Montgomery County are dedicated leaders with an exemplary record of supporting the arts,” said Robert L. Lynch, president and CEO of Americans for the Arts. “Their continued efforts to support the arts are a testament to their understanding of the value the arts bring to communities.”

“Montgomery County has long recognized the importance of arts and culture, not only for the quality of life for our citizens, but also for the impact these activities have in attracting and retaining businesses and jobs,” said Montgomery County Commissioner Debbie Lieberman.  “To be recognized with the National Award for Public Leadership in the Arts is truly an honor and a testament to our continued financial support of our major arts organizations and hundreds of individuals that have brought increased value to our community through assistance from the Montgomery County Arts & Cultural District.”

The National Award for County Arts Leadership honors an elected county board or individual leader who has significantly advanced the arts in the communities they serve. Americans for the Arts established the award in 1999 to recognize the positive role county government leaders play in improving arts programs, increasing funding to the arts and making the arts accessible in their communities.

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