January 17-19, 2001 Capital Hilton Hotel
Washington, DC

January 17, 2001

National, State, Local Leaders in Arts Advocacy Honored at Fourth Annual Mayors Arts Gala

WASHINGTON, DC Legends and leaders among the arts world and public office were saluted tonight at the Fourth Mayors Arts Gala, a black-tie event co-sponsored by the United States Conference of Mayors and Americans for the Arts. "The Conference is proud to honor these individuals, each of whom has exhibited uncommon leadership in his support of the arts," Conference President and Boise Mayor H. Brent Coles said in announcing the award recipients. "We are equally proud that our nation's Mayors are joined in this effort by the grassroots advocates represented by Americans for the Arts. Because of the efforts of our honorees, Americans for the Arts, and thousands of activists across the nation, America will continue to maintain a strong federal commitment to and public support for the arts."

The event, held at the Grand Hyatt, honored the following individuals:

  • President William Jefferson Clinton was honored with the Lifetime Achievement Award for Leadership in the Arts. Under President Clinton's leadership, the President's Committee on the Arts and Humanities has been reinvigorated; and the National Endowment for the Arts survived strong Congressional attacks to abolish the Federal Agency.

  • Denver Mayor Wellington E. Webb received the Local Arts Leadership Award, for his many efforts to promote the arts including the establishment of the Mayor's Office of Art, Culture and Film; the creation of the 1% for Public Arts Program; the development of Arts Street, an arts-based summer youth employment- training program; and his support for improvements and expansions to Denver's performing arts and cultural facilities.

  • Connecticut Governor John Rowland received the State Arts Leadership Award. Governor Rowland has doubled the funding of state assistance for the arts. Connecticut is now the number one state in per capita support for the arts.

  • U. S. Representative Norm Dicks (WA) was honored with the Congressional Arts Leadership Award. Congressman Dicks has always been a strong advocate for the arts and has led efforts on Capitol Hill to increase support for the National Endowment for the Arts.

  • The VH1 Save The Music Foundation was the recipient of a special recognition award for excellence in arts programs for youth. The VH1 Save The Music Foundation is a non-profit organization dedicated to improving the quality of education in America's public schools by restoring music programs in cities across the U.S. and by raising public awareness about the importance of music participation for our nation's youth. Since VH1 Save The Music was created in 1997, more than $10 million worth of musical instruments has been donated to 500 public schools, improving the lives of more than 200,000 children. VH1 President John Sykes will accept this award on behalf of this arts program.

"Public sector leaders at the federal, state, and local levels help bring over $2 billion a year to the national arts industry," said Bob Lynch, President and CEO of Americans for the Arts. "Americans for the Arts is proud to be working with the Mayors and all the other elected leaders in America to help make the arts available to everyone. We are also very pleased to honor John Sykes and the VH1 Save the Music program, who have stepped in to fill a huge need for children across the country. Music matters to children and VH1 matters to music."

CONTACT: Jubi Headley, U. S. Conference of Mayors, (202) 861-6766
Devin Cogswell, Americans for the Arts, (202) 371-2830