Press Release

For Immediate Release
December 7, 1999

Jubi Headley
The U.S. Conference of Mayors
(202) 861-6766

Linda Blake
Americans for the Arts

Mayors Gala Honors Leaders in Fostering the Arts

WASHINGTON, D.C. ó The United States Conference of Mayors and Americans for the Arts proudly announce the winners of the 2000 Government Leadership in the Arts Awards honoring outstanding contributions of important partners on the local, state and national level working to enrich the quality of our communities and the nation through the arts.

The awards will be presented at the Mayors Arts Gala at the Grand Hyatt Hotel in Washington, D.C on the evening of Thursday, January 27, 2000. In addition to those in public office, the event honors Harry Belafonte for his unparalleled artistic and humanitarian contributions and Dr. John Brademas, who will receive a special Lifetime Achievement Award for his 30 years of public and private sector leadership in the advancement of the arts.

Other recipients of the Government Leadership in the Arts Awards include:

  • Mayor Vincent Cianci of Providence, Rhode Island will receive the Local Arts Leadership Award for spearheading the renaissance of one of the hippest, and most vibrant and economically thriving cities in America. Adopting innovative legislation to grant tax exemptions to artists living or working in the downtown Arts and Entertainment district, Providence is now home to more artists per capita than any other American city and is currently enjoying an economic boom in cultural tourism.

  • Senator Robert Bennett of Utah who will receive the Congressional Arts Leadership in the U.S. Senate Award for his leadership both publicly and behind-the-scenes to garner bipartisan support for public funding of the arts and the humanities. An equally accomplished businessman, he recognizes federal investment in the arts is a way for the U.S. to keep an edge in world trade by intricately linking the American entrepreneurial spirit to the creativity of the arts.

  • U.S. Representative Nancy Johnson of Connecticut will receive the Congressional Arts Leadership in the U.S. House of Representatives Award for being one of the most effective leaders and bipartisan consensus-builders for publicly funded arts programs. For the last two years, she has been responsible for spearheading key floor amendments that have successfully restored funding to the National Endowment for the Arts.
  • Governor Tom Ridge of Pennsylvania will receive the State Arts Leadership Award for having successfully proposed increases in state arts funding in every year of his administration, even while making substantial tax cuts in the commonwealth's overall budget. Since 1995, Governor Ridge has increased the state arts councilís budget by 25 percent, bringing its funding to a groundbreaking $1 per capita and resulting in an all-time high per capita ranking of 24th in the nation.

Americans for the Arts is a national network of organizations and individuals dedicated to empowering communities and communicating the value of the arts. Americans for the Arts helps create a better understanding of the role of the arts in social and individual development.

The U. S. Conference of Mayors is the official nonpartisan organization of cities with populations of 30,000 or more. There are about 1,100 such cities in the country today. Each city is represented in the Conference by its chief elected official, the Mayor.