Thursday, January 21, 2010

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Washington, DC — January 21, 2010 — Americans for the Arts and The United States Conference of Mayors present the 2010 Public Leadership in the Arts Awards to Oregon Governor Ted Kulongoski, Honolulu Mayor Mufi Hannemann, and musician Michael Feinstein.

The awards honor elected officials and artists that have demonstrated outstanding leadership in the advancement of the arts. The awards will be presented on Thursday, January 21 at The United States Conference of Mayors 78th annual winter meeting in Washington, DC. The awards have been given annually by Americans for the Arts and The United States Conference of Mayors since 1997.

“Governor Kulongoski and Mayor Hannemann each have shown great commitment to the creative economy in their city and state. Their leadership and dedication to the arts has yielded boosts in cultural funding, community growth, and economic prosperity,” said Robert L. Lynch, president and CEO of Americans for the Arts. “We are also proud to honor Michael Feinstein. He has introduced audiences young and old to the joys of popular American song and is dedicated to preserving it for future generations.”

Following are brief biographies of the 2010 Public Leadership in the Arts Award recipients:

Oregon Governor Ted Kulongoski receives the 2010 Award for State Arts Leadership for advancing both policy and budget initiatives that brand culture and creative endeavors as critical to the state’s economy and future.

“The arts are never a frill. They are critical to our quality of life, especially now. In difficult economic times, we need hope. We need laughter. We need to discover our shared humanity. This is the value of the arts,” said Governor Kulongoski on receiving the award.

Since approving the merger of the Oregon Cultural Trust with the Oregon Arts Commission in 2003, residents have contributed more than $17 million to support the arts, heritage, and humanities. In 2005, Governor Kulongoski signed legislation that authorized a one-percent statewide lodging tax dedicated to tourism promotion. In 2007, Governor Kulongoski initiated and branded CHAMP (and later CHAMP II), a unified cultural reinvestment effort to support the cultural and creative economy of the state which resulted in a $15.6 million increase in public investment. This program has become a model for cultural collaboration and advocacy throughout the U.S.

Honolulu Mayor Mufi Hannemann receives the 2010 Award for Local Arts Leadership for creating opportunities to use the arts as a catalyst for economic development and community revitalization in Honolulu.

“The arts are vital to our culture and our economy. They enrich our lives, stimulate our intellect, revitalize our neighborhoods, and make our world a better place. The arts are everywhere, throughout every city and town in the United States,” said Mayor Hannemann. “In Honolulu, we take great pride in our support for the arts, particularly given the diversity of our island community and the outstanding contributions that our many ethnic groups have made to culture and the arts. I unequivocally support full funding for arts and humanities agencies and the National Endowment for the Arts.”

Under his leadership, the Honolulu has become a film and TV production hub for the state, generating more than half of the statewide production expenditures. Mayor Hannemann also successfully developed the ARTS at Marks Garage, in collaboration with the Hawaii State Arts Alliance. Since 2001, this arts enterprise zone in downtown Honolulu, has provided arts opportunities to more than 30,000 people each year and an additional 1,000 local artists. Nationally, Mayor Hannemann is a steadfast advocate for the arts working on behalf the U.S. Conference of Mayors. During the recent presidential election, he succeeded in making tourism and the arts part of the Mayors’ 10-Point Plan for America’s Cities and participated in ArtsVote2008 events with the Americans for the Arts Action Fund.

Michael Feinstein receives the 2010 Award for Artist-Citizen. He is a multi-platinum selling, five-time Grammy-nominated entertainer dubbed “The Ambassador of the Great American Songbook,” and is considered one of the premiere interpreters of American popular song. Throughout his career, Mr. Feinstein has performed in prestigious venues including Carnegie Hall, the Hollywood Bowl, and dozens of other major concert halls, as well as the White House and Buckingham Palace. More than a mere performer, Mr. Feinstein is nationally recognized for his commitment to the American popular song, both celebrating its art and preserving its legacy for the next generation.

“Simply put, to dismiss the arts is a fundamental misunderstanding of its importance to education, society, community, and health. Life is about balance, and in times of turmoil such as these, I clearly see that we are lost in a mire of imbalance that reflects our society attitudes about war, education, health, and every other major issue,” said Michael Feinstein. “It is not an understatement to say that all of these issues would be perceived and dealt with quite differently if we had a society that was more integrated with the arts and had been over the last several decades. It’s all interconnected, and we are now paying the price for having so deeply neglected it. It's time to restore the gift of our heritage and culture to our children.”

Celebrating its 50th anniversary, Americans for the Arts is the leading nonprofit organization for advancing the arts in America. With offices in Washington, DC, and New York City, 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. Visit us online at

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 .