Americans for the Arts and The United States Conference of Mayors today awarded Santa Fe Mayor Javier M. Gonzales the 2018 National Award for Local Arts Leadership for cities with a population fewer than 100,000.
“It is a tremendous honor to be recognized for our work,” said Gonzales. “For a millennium, Santa Fe has been a hub of arts and culture. Our task has been to take that rich legacy and expand the circle of access to ensure everyone in our city benefits from our unique place in the world. We have centered our work on unleashing the power of the arts as tool for equity and opportunity for all our people. A great deal of the credit for this award is shared with our local partners—Santa Fe institutions, schools, nonprofits and advocates—and the people of Santa Fe. We are grateful to you for recognizing what we have achieved together.”
Within 60 days of taking office, Mayor Gonzales convened more than 100 community leaders to frame his administration’s work in arts and culture. Throughout his term, the focus has been on protecting, preserving, and growing the Santa Fe brand; fostering broad collaboration; ensuring the arts were present in the lives of young people; and securing inclusive access to cultural institutions for the Santa Fe community.
Mayor Gonzales called for Santa Fe’s first cultural planning process. More than a plan, it was a civic process for developing a more equitable community through culture. Nearly 2,000 people participated in assemblies, conversations, interviews and surveys. The picture that emerged was of a community facing significant challenges. Mayor Gonzales stood firm, insisting that Santa Fe’s creative talent and deep-rooted culture hold transformative power. The resulting document, Culture Connects Santa Fe: A Cultural Cartography, recognizes that art and culture have the potential to connect Santa Fe. At the heart of Culture Connects are notions about protecting the city’s cultural heritage, traditions, and diversity while understanding that growth comes from evolving thoughts and actions. Mayor Gonzales shepherded the plan through city council with unanimous approval. He championed the creation of a full-time position to support the work, along with $125,000 in additional first-year funding for its initiatives.
Under Mayor Gonzales, annual local government support for the arts has exceeded $1.5 million for the community of 83,875 people. Highlights of this support over the past four years include approximately $900,000 in direct arts grants to nonprofits yearly; $300,000 in collaborative arts grants; and more than $200,000 in small public art acquisitions and $150,000 in infrastructure-related public art.
“Mayor Gonzales understands the important role the arts play in advancing the economy and uniting communities—throughout the cultural planning process, he stood firm, insisting that Santa Fe’s creative talent and deep-rooted culture hold transformative power. Mayor Gonzales’ ability to motivate and organize others has had a lasting effect on Santa Fe. I applaud him for his commitment and leadership worthy of this recognition,” said Robert L. Lynch, president and CEO of Americans for the Arts.
“Every year, The U.S. Conference of Mayors recognizes the exemplary efforts of local leaders who believe as much as we do that the arts are an integral part our society,” remarked Tom Cochran, CEO and Executive Director of The U.S. Conference of Mayors. “Mayors understand the connection between arts and business, and the significant contribution the arts make to the local economy.”
Americans for the Arts and The United States Conference of Mayors presented their 2018 Public Arts Leadership Awards at the mayors’ Winter Meeting in Washington, DC. Maryland Governor Larry Hogan received the National Award for State Arts Leadership; Dallas Mayor Michael S. Rawlings received the National Award for Local Arts Leadership for cities with a population of 100,000 or more; and actor and musician Michael Cerveris received the Citizen Artist Award.
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.
Jay H. Dick
Americans for the Arts