Robert L. Lynch is president and CEO of Americans for the Arts. With more than 40 years of experience in the arts industry, he is motivated by his personal mission to empower communities and leaders to advance the arts in society, and in the lives of citizens.
In 1996, Lynch managed the successful merger of the National Assembly of Local Arts Agencies, where he had spent 12 years as executive director, with the American Council for the Arts to form Americans for the Arts. Under his 30 years of leadership, the services and membership of Americans for the Arts have grown to more than 50 times their original size. He has personally reached audiences in over 2000 locations spanning all 50 states and more than a dozen nations, with diverse constituencies ranging from Native American tribal gatherings to the U.S. Armed Forces in Europe to the President of the United States.
During his tenure at Americans for the Arts, Lynch has overseen six mergers including the Arts and Business Council, Inc. and the Business Committee for the Arts into Americans for the Arts. He has also created the Americans for the Arts Action Fund and its connected political action committee to establish arts-friendly public policy through engaging citizens to advocate for the arts and arts education.
Under his direction, Americans for the Arts has become a leader in documenting and articulating the key role played by the nonprofit arts and culture industry, and their audiences, in strengthening our nation’s economy. This has been done through its signature study of the economic impact of the nonprofit arts community, Arts and Economic Prosperity IV, and the latest study measuring the arts in communities, The National Arts Index. He has also been instrumental in creating a strong portfolio of projects and information about the transformative value of the arts in non-arts areas such as civic dialogue, social problem solving and work with the Pentagon, West Point, and Walter Reed National Military Medical Center on the arts and military.
Mr. Lynch currently serves on the boards of the Independent Sector, the Arts Extension Institute, and the University of Massachusetts-Amherst College of Humanities and Fine Arts Dean’s Council. He recently was appointed to a second term on the U.S. Travel and Tourism Advisory Board, a position appointed by the U.S. Secretary of Commerce. In August 2014, he was selected as one of the most influential executives in the nonprofit sector for the NonProfit Times Power & Influence Top 50 for the third consecutive year, and in January 2014 he was awarded the Sidney R. Yates Award for Outstanding Advocacy on Behalf of the Performing Arts.
Lynch earned a bachelor’s degree in English from the University of Massachusetts-Amherst, and plays the piano, mandolin, and guitar. He lives in Washington, DC.
Americans for the Arts Staff Information
The Arts in America - National Trends
Federal Legislative Update
Arts & Economic Perspective
Private Sector Support for Arts
Diversity as Policy; The Arts & Funding at a Global Crossroads; Arts & Health in the Military; Transformative Power of the Arts
Folk music and jazz, Contemporary visual art, Fine craft and woodcarving, and Poetry
Recent Blog Posts
- The Arts and Veterans: A Mighty Force
- From Jobs to Dinner to Even Milking Cows, the Nonprofit Arts Are a Multi-Faceted Economic Powerhouse
- From Blues to the “Peanutcracker,” Government Support for the Arts Helps Create Access for All
- Sometimes the Budget Pie is Big Enough for Everyone
- Robert Lynch Responds to Hill Commentary Calling to End Funding for the NEA
- Advice for Arts Advocates Everywhere
- Robert Lynch Responds to Wall Street Journal Commentary Calling for an End to the NEA
- Goals Worth Fighting For
- The Arts Don’t Just Heal, They Also Unify and Inspire Action
- The Arts in Austin Need our Commitment and Support at this Critical Time
- Robert L. Lynch Speaks of Hope, Unity, and Resilience at the End of This Presidential Election
- Celebrating National Arts and Humanities Month with an Eye to a New Cast of Characters
- The Future of Arts Education is a Thirteen-Year-Old Boy at the Podium
- My Experience at the 2016 Political Conventions
- Who Gets Your Vote This Election Season? The Arts!
- For the Love of It: Lifelong Joy Through the Arts
- Reflection and Revolution: AFTACON 2016 State of the Arts Address
- The Passion of Arts Advocates Driving Change: Kennedy, U.S. Lawmakers, and You
- Five Macro Trends That Arts Organizations Need to Watch
- Happy New Year from Americans for the Arts!
- The Arts Help Us Find Comfort, Peace, and Unity
- Through the Power of their Creativity, Veterans Continue to Serve
- The Importance of the Arts in our Communities: Robert L. Lynch and Laura Zabel
- Powerful and Surprising Arts and Business Partnerships: Enriching Workplaces and Communities Nationwide
- Join Me in Celebrating National Arts in Education Week!
- On Vacation? Rise and Shine -- Explore the Arts All Around You!
- The Arts Add Powerful Voice and Vibrancy to Corporate America
- The "Graying" of America: An Opportunity to Add Color and Artistic Expression
- Arts Action Heroes to the Rescue!
- Chicagoland's Arts and Culture Brings the Vibrancy -- and Money, Too!
- The Arts and Arts Education Are Part of the Solution
- Advocating for the Arts? Tell a Story
- Statement on the Nomination of Dr. Jane Chu for Chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts
- For the Poor, the Arts Are a Path to Opportunity
- Statement on the Passing of Joan Mondale
- A Shared Endeavor
- Bob Lynch's Statement Receiving the Sidney R. Yates Award from APAP 1/14/14
- What’s on Your Back to School List?
- The Private Sector's Secret Weapon (from The pARTnership Movement)
- New Cabinet Nominees Have Pro-Arts Records
- Responding to Yesterday's Tragedy in Oklahoma
- Yesterday's Tragedy in Boston
- The Strength of Diversity: The Strength of the Arts
- Supporting the Arts at the State & Local Levels
- The Arts Are Patriotic, Too
- Americans for the Arts & Arts Action Fund Statement on the 2012 Elections
- The Arts Aren't Red or Blue
- The Arts: Making a Difference at the DNC
- A Week of Arts Education in Washington (from Arts Watch)
- Honoring Emerging Classical Music Leaders of Color
- Arts Education Skills Vital for a Successful Economy
- How the Arts Helped Us Through the September 11 Tragedy
- Arts Education Policy: Without Clout, There Will Be No Change
- White House Gathers Arts 'Champions of Change'
- Super Bowl: A Showcase for the Arts
- ArtCast: Explaining the Green Paper Initiative
- ArtCast: Learn About Arts Advocacy Day and Share Your Favorite Memory from the Event
- ArtCast: Continuing the Private Sector Giving Blog Salon Discussions
- Happy New Year from Americans for the Arts
- ArtCast: Thank You for the Successes of 2009
- ArtCast: Meeting New Arts Supporters at Art Basel Miami Beach
- ArtCast: Zac Efron, Claire Danes, and Richard Linklater on Capitol Hill
- ArtCast: Princeton Symposium on Arts and the Economic Crisis
- ArtCast: Honoring Businesses Who Help Support and Advocate for the Arts
- ArtCast: Marketing the Arts in Challenging Times
- Celebrating 10 Years of the Emerging Leader Program at Americans for the Arts
- ArtCast: National Arts Policy Roundtable
- ArtCast: The 2009 National Arts Awards
- ArtCast: Celebrate National Arts & Humanities Month
- Americans for the Arts Responds to Inaccurate Washington Times Editorial
- ArtCast: Arts and Philanthropy Leaders Gather at Aspen Institute
- Remembering the Life of Senator Ted Kennedy
- ArtCast: Meeting NEA Chairman Rocco Landesman
- Stimulus Bill Compromise Will Help Save Thousands of Arts Workers Jobs
- Arts Funding Hangs in Balance as Stimulus Bill Passes Senate
- NEA Receives $50 Million in Economic Recovery Bill
- Arts, Inc.