Recipients Named in the 2014 Annual Local Arts Leadership Awards

Thursday, May 1, 2014

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 2014 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:

  • Chris Appleton, Georgia. American Express Emerging Leaders Award
  • Robert Bush, North Carolina: Selina Roberts Ottum Award for Arts Leadership
  • James M. Clark, Kentucky: Michael Newton Award
  • Donna S. Collins, Ohio: Alene Valkanas State Arts Advocacy Award
  • Norie Sato, Washington: Public Art Network Award
  • Malissa Feruzzi Shriver, California: Arts Education Award

“Our Local Arts Leadership Awards honorees have distinguished themselves as leaders in innovation, education, management and advocacy for the arts in communities across the country. Each of this year’s honorees are driven by both a passion for their work and a deep belief in the power of the arts to transform individual lives and communities," said Robert Lynch, President and CEO of Americans for the Arts. “We want to ensure we recognize their priceless contributions toward strengthening the arts in America.”

Honorees will be presented their awards at the upcoming Americans for the Arts 2014 Annual Convention during the Opening Plenary session, Friday, June 13, 2014 from 11:00 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Presentations will be live streamed online at


2014 Americans for the Arts Annual Local Arts Awards Honorees

Chris Appleton, American Express Emerging Leaders Award

Given annually since 2006, the 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. Chris Appleton is Founder and Executive Director of WonderRoot, Atlanta’s leading arts and activism organization. He serves on the Board of Directors of the Georgia Arts Network, the Historic Preservation and Public Art Advisory Board for the Atlanta BeltLine, and the Advisory Board for Health Connect South. Previously, he served as the founding Board President for Burnaway, a regional arts and culture publication, and as Board Governance Chair for Atlanta Celebrates Photography, the country’s largest community-based photo festival.

Robert Bush, Selina Roberts Ottum Award

Presented jointly by Americans for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Arts

for the past 25 years, the Selina Roberts Ottum Award has recognized outstanding contributions in the local arts agency field. For 14 years, Robert Bush has served as the chief strategic and executive officer for the Arts & Science Council (ASC) in Charlotte, NC. He previously served as president and CEO of the United Arts Council of Raleigh and Wake County and Arts United of Greater Fort Wayne in Fort Wayne, IN; as director of development with the Mint Museum of Art; and as executive director of the Catawba County Council for the Arts. A past president of the Arts North Carolina, he is a former member of both the Governing and National Policy Boards of Americans for the Arts, and the Boards of Directors of Community Building Initiative, the Urban League of Central Carolinas, Indiana Assembly of Local Arts Agencies, Partners in Out-of-School Time, and The NAMES Project (the AIDS Memorial Quilt), where he served as board chair. 

James M. Clark, Michael Newton Award

For the past 25 years, the Michael Newton Award has recognized 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. James M. Clark has influenced arts, culture and economic development in several U.S. cities. At Culture Works, a United Arts Fund in Dayton, OH, he implemented one of the first cultural plans adopted by a local government and doubled public funding. Currently, as the president and CEO of LexArts, a United Arts Fund and Arts Council in Lexington, KY, Clark has raised over $1 million annually, expanded public and private support for the arts, and launched a public art initiative that informs citizens about environmental issues.

Donna S. Collins, Alene Valkanas State Arts Advocacy Award

Since 2006, the Alene Valkanas State Arts Advocacy Award has honored an individual whose arts advocacy efforts have dramatically affected the political landscape at the state level. As the executive director of Ohio Citizens for the Arts (OCA) and the Ohio Alliance for Arts Education (OAAE), Donna S. Collins, has helped to foster a diverse community of arts advocates, educators, artists, and professional organizations that cultivate local, statewide, and national initiatives and actions that directly impact children, families, communities, and the creative economy in and through the arts.

Norie Sato, Public Art Network Award

The Public Art Network Award has been given annually since 2003 to honor innovative contributions to, and exemplary commitment and leadership in, public art. Norie Sato, a Seattle-based artist with works on display throughout the country, has been involved in many aspects of public art, including making, teaching, planning, activating, consulting, advocating and supporting. She works in sculpture and two-dimensional work, and in various media including glass, metal, terrazzo floors, integrated design work, landscape, video and light. Active in public art for five decades, she is a former member of the Public Art Network Council and former commissioner of the Seattle Design Commission.

Malissa Feruzzi Shriver, Arts Education Award

Presented each year since 2007, the Arts Education Award honors the best in arts education program design, execution, and organizational leadership. Malissa Feruzzi Shriver is an arts education advocate with numerous leadership positions in California

and nationally. After chairing the California team for the National Endowment for the Arts' Education Leaders Institute, she co-founded CREATE CA (Core Reforms Engaging Arts to Educate in California), a statewide initiative to address the erosion of arts education in public schools. She is the executive director of Turnaround Arts California, a program aligned with the California Department of Education to reform low-performing schools with comprehensive and integrated arts education. She's also the political advocacy advisor for Frank Gehry Partners. Shriver also served two terms on the California Arts Council, is on the California Alliance for Arts Education policy board, and is a California Institute for the Arts trustee. Nationally she serves as the 1st Vice President on the board for the National Assembly of State Arts Agencies (NASAA), and is Chair of the NASAA Arts Learning Advisory Committee, the Western States Arts Federation, and the Center for Research on Creativity.


Americans for the Arts Annual Convention brings together arts and community leaders to network and discuss strategies for building stronger towns, counties, and cities through the arts. What started as a small group of 45 people in 1955 has now grown to more than 1,100 each year.

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



Graham Dunstan