Award Presented By Americans for the Arts and The United States Conference of Mayors on Arts Advocacy Day

Thursday, April 12, 2012

press releaseContact:
Catherine Brandt

Americans for the Arts, the nation’s leading nonprofit organization for advancing the arts and arts education, in conjunction with The United States Conference of Mayors, will present the 2012 National Award for Congressional Arts Leadership to Representative Todd Platts (R-PA). The award, which recognizes distinguished public service on behalf of the arts, will be presented on Tuesday, April 17 at the Congressional Arts Kick Off during Arts Advocacy Day on Capitol Hill.

Since 2009, Representative Platts has co-chaired the Congressional Arts Caucus with Representative Louise Slaughter (D-NY). The caucus, currently composed of 187 Members of Congress, is the primary voice for arts leadership in the House of Representatives and is often called upon to organize against funding cuts to the National Endowment for the Arts and to support wider pro-arts policies. Most recently, Rep. Platts successfully took to the House Floor to help turn back a $10 million cut to the NEA budget, successfully urging fellow representatives to oppose the reduction. Rep. Platts has also been an outspoken supporter of arts education as a member of the House Education and Workforce Committee, which oversees national education policy. That commitment is apparent to anyone who has visited his office in Washington, D.C., where his sons' many art projects proudly adorn the walls. Rep. Platts is retiring at the close of the 112th Session of Congress this year.

"I'm honored to receive this award from Americans for the Arts. The arts support thousands of jobs in Pennsylvania, and are an important part of our American way of life," said Platts.

"Representative Platts has demonstrated great leadership and support for the arts for all Americans," said Robert L. Lynch, president and CEO of Americans for the Arts. "His passion and perseverance for the arts is inspiring, and we are truly grateful for his hard work over the years. With his retirement, the nonprofit arts community is losing a trusted friend and leader."

The National Award for Congressional Arts Leadership is part of a series of Public Leadership in the Arts Awards given annually by Americans for the Arts and The United States Conference of Mayors since 1997.

"Each year, we recognize a Congressional leader for his or her support of the arts," said Tom Cochran, CEO and executive director of The United States Conference of Mayors. "Rep. Platts truly deserves this award for his tireless work on placing the arts high on our national agenda."

Previous recipients of the Congressional Arts Leadership Award include:

2011     Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (RI)
2010     Speaker Nancy Pelosi (CA)
2009     Representative John Lewis (GA)
2008     Senator Patrick Leahy (VT)
2007     Representative Betty McCollum (MN)
2006     Representative Jim Leach (IA)
2005     Representative Christopher Shays (CT)
2004     Representative David Obey (WI)
2003     Senator Thad Cochran (MS)
2002     Representative Steve Horn (CA)
2001     Representative Norm Dicks (WA)
2000     Senator Robert Bennett (UT) and Representative Nancy Johnson (CT)
1999     Senator Edward M. Kennedy (MA) and Representative Michael Castle (DE)
1998     Representative Louise M. Slaughter (NY) and Senator Slade Gorton (WA)
1997     Representative Rick Lazio (NY) and Senator James M. Jeffords (VT)

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

The United States 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