Mayor Annise Parker (D – Houston, TX)
Annise Parker, Mayor of Houston, Texas, received the 2015 National Award for Local Arts Leadership for cities with a population of 100,000 or more at the United States Conference of Mayors’ Winter Meeting.
“Mayor Parker embodies the best of what a civic leader can do to promote the arts,” said Robert L. Lynch, president and CEO of Americans for the Arts. “She understands the important role the arts play in advancing the economy and uniting communities. Americans for the Arts applauds Mayor Parker’s accomplishments and the efforts made by all civic leaders to support and promote arts and arts education nationwide.”
For 17 years as a council member, controller, and now Mayor of Houston, Mayor Parker has been an avid supporter of the arts. She introduced and passed an ordinance to use the Hotel Occupancy Tax to provide an unprecedented amount of funding—up to $86 million—for arts and cultural organizations and programming. Working with her Office of Cultural Affairs, Mayor Parker launched a large public engagement and planning process to develop a vision, goals, and objectives for the future of arts and culture in Houston. Additionally, Mayor Parker has initiated six Cultural Districts, representing Houston’s Museum District, Theater District, Midtown Arts District and others, which have successfully been designated by the Texas Commission on the Arts. Mayor Parker is a poet and writer herself; in 2013, she was named Houston’s first poet laureate.
“Arts and culture contribute to our quality of life and are an expression of the soul of a city,” remarked Mayor Parker. “Houston prides itself on being the most diverse city in the nation. Our cultural communities are a big part of that. Through public policy and funding opportunities, we are working hard to grow and expand arts and culture projects in our City. I want to thank you for this award. It is truly humbling to have our efforts recognized.”