Americans for the Arts Honors Wendy Feuer, Abe Flores, Jon Hinojosa, Kate D. Levin, Barbara Sexton Smith, and Tommy Usrey with 2013 Annual Local Arts Leadership Awards
Awardees to be Honored on June 14 and 15 at Americans for the Arts Convention in Pittsburgh, PA
Award Presentations to be Livestreamed to Public
WASHINGTON, D.C. —Americans for the Arts, the nation’s leading nonprofit organization for advancing the arts and arts education, announced the recipients of the 2013 Americans for the Arts Annual Local Arts Leadership Awards. Presented each year, these awards recognize the achievements of individuals, organizations or programs committed to enriching their communities through the arts. This year’s recipients are:
- Wendy Feuer - Public Art Network Award
- Abe Flores – American Express Emerging Leaders Award
- Jon Hinojosa - Arts Education Award
- Kate D. Levin - Selina Roberts Ottum Award for Arts Leadership
- Barbara Sexton Smith - Michael Newton Award
- Tommy Usrey - Alene Valkanas State Arts Advocacy Award
The Selina Roberts Ottum Award for Arts Leadership and the Public Arts Network Award will be presented on June 14 during the opening keynote of the Americans for the Arts’ Annual Convention in Pittsburgh, PA at12:00 p.m. The American Express Emerging Leaders Award, Arts Education Award, Michael Newton Award, and Alene Valkanas State Arts Agency Award will be presented on June 15 during the Convention Town Hall Luncheon also at 12:00 p.m. Both presentations will be livestreamed online at http://convention.artsusa.org.
"These Local Arts Leadership Awards honor the very best partners, colleagues, and friends to the arts in America," said Robert Lynch, President and CEO of Americans for the Arts. "The awardees are all trailblazers who are each implementing innovative and transformative programs to strengthen the communities they serve and thus building recognition for the important work of the arts.”
2013 Americans for the Arts Annual Local Arts Awards Honorees
Wendy Feuer, Public Art Network Award
The Public Art Network Award has been given annually since 2003 and the honors innovative contributions to, and exemplary commitment and leadership in, public art. Wendy Feuer is Assistant Commissioner for Urban Design & Art at the New York City Department of Transportation, the office charged with reviewing all designs relating to streets that are submitted to both Landmarks and the Public Design Commission. Feuer was part of the team that produced the DOT Street Design Manual in May 2009, a comprehensive book that provides guidance for City agencies, design consultants and community groups on street designs. Prior to serving as Assistant Commissioner, she was the founding director of the New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s Arts for Transit office and served as Director of Art and Design for almost eleven years. She has lectured and consulted internationally and has published a number of articles on public art.
Abe Flores, American Express Emerging Leaders Award
Given annually since 2006, the American Express Emerging Leaders Award honors exceptional young arts professionals who demonstrate exemplary leadership, innovative thinking and a commitment to advancing the arts in their local, state or national communities. Abe Flores serves as Advocacy Field Manager for Arts for LA, organizing arts education advocacy teams throughout Los Angeles County. Working on the ground in 13 unique districts and neighborhoods in Los Angeles County over the past three years, Flores has developed a unique perspective on cultivating parent and community advocacy, and has trained over 300 people as arts education advocates on behalf of their school districts. Flores has been able to synthesize his personal experiences with powerful advocacy messages, empowering community members to make a difference.
Jon Hinojosa, Arts Education Award
Presented each year since 2007, the Arts Education Award honors the best in arts education program design, execution, and organizational leadership. Jon Hinojosa has served for the past 19 years as the Artistic and Executive Director of SAY Sí, a national award-winning, multi-disciplinary arts program for urban high school and middle school students in San Antonio. The program began with eight students from one high school and now encompasses 5 distinct multidisciplinary arts programs serving 185 youth on-site and 4,000 youth in community programming. Jon is also a visual artist and is active in local, regional and national arts education initiatives. He is a national trustee for the National Guild for Community Arts Education, a founding member and Co-Chair of the San Antonio Arts in Education Task Force, and a founding member and past Co-Chair and of the Cultural Alliance of San Antonio.
Kate D. Levin, Selina Roberts Ottum Award for Arts Leadership
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. Kate Levin is the Commissioner of The New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, the largest funder of the arts in the nation, supporting and sustaining New York City's cultural life through public funding for programming, operations and capital improvements at non-profit organizations throughout the five boroughs. Under the leadership of Commissioner Levin and Mayor Bloomberg, the City of New York has maintained the largest cultural capital budget, providing over $2.8 billion for facility enhancement projects at cultural organizations across the five boroughs since 2002 and supported neighborhood revitalization, major public art projects, expanded granting, and created affordable, permanent rehearsal and studio space for artists.
Barbara Sexton Smith, Michael Newton Award
Given annually since 1991, the Michael Newton Award recognizes exemplary leadership skills and extraordinary dedication to supporting the arts through a united arts fund, which is a combined effort to raise money on behalf of multiple arts institutions in the community, or through unique and powerful partnerships with the private sector. Barbara Sexton Smith is President & CEO of Fund for the Arts in Louisville, KY and in her tenure at the organization the average gift through the workplace campaign grew from $87 in 2001 to more than $167 in 2011 and the percentage of total dollars raised from employee campaigns increased by 25%. In 2007, Sexton Smith recognized the need to prepare the next generation of Arts leaders and volunteers and created the NeXt! leadership development program with the goal to prepare the next generation for volunteer leadership roles in the area of arts and cultural with a strategic focus on strong corporate citizenship.
Tommy Usrey, Alene Valkanas State Arts Advocacy Award
The Alene Valkanas State Arts Advocacy Award has been given out annually since 2006 and honors an individual whose arts advocacy efforts have dramatically affected the political landscape at the state level. Tommy Usrey has served as a long-time board member and past chair of Louisiana Partnership for the Arts and is also past chair of Americans for the Arts’ State Arts Action Network. Usrey has demonstrated time and again the instinctive ability to bring together people, political opportunities, and resources to grow and strengthen the arts on the state level starting from the ground up.
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 www.AmericansForTheArts.org.