In partnership with the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL), Americans for the Arts is pleased to present California Senator Ben Allen
with the Public Leadership in the Arts Award for State Arts Leadership. The award honors state officials who effectively lead the arts advancement movement in their region. The ceremony took place this morning at the NCSL Capitol Forum in Washington, DC. A video of Sen. Allen's acceptance remarks can be viewed on Americans for the Arts' YouTube channel
“Senator Allen is very deserving of this national award given his leadership in support of arts education for the past four years,” said Robert L. Lynch, president and CEO of Americans for the Arts. “From authoring the Dance and Theatre Credential bill, which brought back credentials for those subjects after 40 years, to his successful advocacy this past legislative session to fund grants to support arts education in underserved districts. Further, as chair of the Senate Education Committee and Chair of the Joint Committee on the Arts, he is doubly deserving.”
Since being elected in 2014, Sen. Allen has introduced four extensive bills that would increase access to the arts in schools and help keep entertainment industry jobs in California—most notably the landmark Theatre and Dance Act (SB 916). He also held an oversight hearing to examine why the visual and performing arts are not widely incorporated into the curriculum as required by state law. The lack of visual and performing arts education is particularly acute in disadvantaged communities. He is leading a robust effort to ensure that all students are exposed to the arts in their school curriculum. In his role as chair of the Joint Committee on the Arts, Sen. Allen has focused the attention of policymakers on the important role the arts and humanities play in the state’s economy and in the region’s communities.
Sen. Allen continues to strive for quality educational and economic opportunities in the state of California by participating as a member of the NCSL Redistricting and Elections Committee; Select Committee on Career Technology and the New Economy; and the Business, Professions and Economic Development Committee. Other notable appointed positions include the Board of Directors of both the State Allocation Board and Public Works Board. He also co-chairs the Environmental Caucus and is vice-chair of the Jewish Caucus.
“Sen. Allen possesses what any arts education advocate yearns for in an elected official—a deep understanding of the transformative power the arts hold in the life of every student, and the skills, relationships, and determination that can move mountains. We know how lucky we are to have him on our side,” said Joe Landon, Executive Director of the California Alliance for Arts Education.
“I’d like to thank Americans for the Arts and the National Conference of State Legislatures for this extraordinary honor,” said Sen. Allen. “As Chair of the California Legislature’s Joint Committee on the Arts I am able to shine a spotlight on the important role that the arts and humanities play in our state’s cultural vibrancy, creative economy and most critically, in delivering a comprehensive education to our students. It is with pride, and an acknowledgment of the shared accomplishments of my state, my colleagues and my team that I humbly accept this award.”
Sen. Allen earned a B.A. in History from Harvard University; an M.A. in Philosophy from the University of Cambridge; and a J.D. from UC Berkeley. His professional experience includes working at the law firm of Richardson & Patel LLP; serving in the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs; and serving as communications director for Congressman Jose Serrano (D-NY).
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 55 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 www.AmericansForTheArts.org.
National Conference of State Legislatures is a bipartisan organization that serves the legislators and staffs of the states, commonwealths, and territories. It provides research, technical assistance, and opportunities for policymakers to exchange ideas on the most pressing state issues and is an effective and respected advocate for the interests of the states in the American federal system.