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Third Annual Mayors Arts Gala Mayor Cianci, Harry Belafonte to Receive Arts Awards

By Tom McClimon


The United States Conference of Mayors and the Americans for the Arts have announced the recipients of the 2000 Leadership in the Arts Awards. The awards will be presented at the third annual Mayors Arts Gala which will be held the evening of Thursday, January 27 in Washington, DC.

This year's honorees are:

Providence Mayor Vincent A. Cianci, Jr. who will receive the Local Arts Leadership Award. Mayor Cianci is being honored for his leadership in pushing for legislation which grants tax exemptions to artists living or working in the downtown Arts and Entertainment district. Providence is now the home to more artists per capita than any other American city. The Mayor is also being honored for his work on the city's riverfront revitalization program; his efforts to attract film and television production to his city; and to establish a cultural exchange between Providence and Florence, Italy.

Harry Belafonte who will receive the Legendary Artist Award. Mr. Belafonte is being honored for his lifetime of work in the arts and entertainment indu      stry as well as for his advocacy work on behalf of human rights around the world. Winner of a Tony, Grammy and recipient in 1994 of the National Medal of the Arts, Mr. Belafonte has served as a cultural advisor to the Peace Corps and helped to establish USA for Africa and the We Are The World concert to benefit African famine relief.

Governor Tom Ridge of Pennsylvania is being honored with the State Arts Leadership Award. Dedicated to the arts, Governor Ridge has successfully proposed increases in state arts funding in every year of his administration. Since taking office in 1995, Governor Ridge has increased the state arts council's budget by 25 percent, bringing its funding to a $1 per capita and resulting in an all-time high per capita ranking of 24th in the nation.

Senator Robert Bennett of Utah will receive the Congressional Arts Leadership in the United States Senate Award.  Senator Bennett co-authored the National Endowment for the Arts Restructuring Act, whose objective to streamline the agency, make public funding for the arts more accountable, and help generate broad support for the arts. Senator Bennett serves as a consensus builder for the arts, most recently garnering wide bipartisan support for his amendment to increase the FY 2000 budgets for the National Endowments for the Arts and Humanities.

Congresswoman Nancy Johnson of Connecticut is being honored with the Congressional Arts Leadership in U.S. House of Representatives. Through her leadership as co-founder of the Tuesday Lunch Bunch, a highly influential caucus of House moderate Republicans, she has proven to be highly instrumental in gaining bipartisan support for the arts. As a founding member of the Congressional Arts Caucus, she co-sponsored a bipartisan amendment to increase funding for the National Endowment for the Arts and has initiated a series of congressional sign-on letters in support of the agency.

Dr. John Brademas will receive the Lifetime Achievement for Leadership in the Advancement of the Arts. Dr. Brademas, President Emeritus of New York University and former Majority Whip of the U. S. House of Representatives, has been one of the nation's leading champion of the arts and humanities. Dr. Brademas co-sponsored the 1965 legislation that established the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities. In 1994, President Clinton appointed Dr. Brademas Chairman of the President's Committee on the Arts and Humanities which in 1997 produced Creative America, a comprehensive analysis of cultural life in America with over 50 specific recommendations for renewing public and private philanthropy in the arts and humanities.


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