Receives 2014 Public Leadership in the Arts Award at gathering of US mayors

Friday, January 24, 2014

WASHINGTON, D.C. —Americans for the Arts, the nation’s leading nonprofit organization for advancing the arts and arts education, in partnership with The United States Conference of Mayors (USCM) presented Dubuque Mayor Roy Buol with the 2014 Public Leadership in the Arts Award for Local Arts Leadership for cities with a population of less than100,000.  The award was presented today at the USCM Winter meeting in Washington, DC.

"Mayor Buol is an elected official who understands the critical importance of arts, culture and creativity in creating vibrant communities and places," said Robert L. Lynch, President and CEO of Americans for the Arts.  "Since 1995, when he began his public service as a city councilman, to 2005 when he was first elected mayor, he has made funding for the arts and culture, along with other arts friendly policy initiatives, a priority of his administration."

"Every year, the U.S. Conference of Mayors recognizes the efforts of those who believe as much as we do, that the arts are the heart of our society," said U.S. Conference of Mayors CEO and Executive Director Tom Cochran. "Arts and culture help shape a city’s quality of life, but mayors also understand the connection between the arts and business and the arts’ impact on the local economy."

Under the leadership of Mayor Buol, the arts and culture have enjoyed a tremendous resurgence as a result of his consistent advocacy of arts and cultural initiatives for the city of Dubuque, Iowa. In 1995, when he first assumed office, the city provided zero funding for the arts and culture. But, under the leadership of Mayor Buol, the city has distributed $2.3 million to arts and cultural groups since 2005 for operating and project support, as well as for a public art project. Upon taking office, Mayor Buol also established an Arts and Cultural Affairs Advisory Commission. Mayor Buol also facilitated the development of Dubuque’s Comprehensive Downtown master plan that called for the formation of a cultural district and, in 2005, the city received the first Cultural District designation from the State of Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs.  

Through Mayor Buol’s involvement in the America’s River Project, the city has developed a nearly $400 million educational, entertainment, and historic riverfront project at the Port of Dubuque.  Specifically, a Mississippi Riverwalk, River's Edge Plaza, and the Alliant Energy Amphitheater were built to host multiple community arts and culture activities, including a now thriving roster of festivals.  In 2006, Dubuque was named one of the first Iowa Great Places due to projects that sought to expand and continue the revitalization that has occurred along the city’s riverfront within the last decade.

"I am deeply honored to receive this recognition from the United States Conference of Mayors and Americans for the Arts. In Dubuque, we have strived to ensure that the arts are part of the intrinsic value of our quality of life...the education, inspiration and aspiration!” said Mayor Buol.  "The Dubuque City Council has consistently chosen support of the cultural arts as a high priority in our goals over the last eight years. Our investment and support has proven to make solid economic sense—over $47 million dollars of sense for our local economy every year, and a critical element of what makes Dubuque a 'Masterpiece on the Mississippi!'"

Three other awards were presented at the breakfast event—Michigan Governor Rick Snyder; Akron, OH Mayor Don Plusquellic; and Actress Fran Drescher were also honored. 


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