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Akron, Ohio

Mayor receives prestigious American Arts Award

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City of Akron Press Release
From the desk of Stephanie York
Published: 01-24-2014

Mayor receives prestigious American Arts Award

For Immediate Release
Contact: Stephanie York, Director of Communications
[email protected] or 330-375-2345 (w) / 330-289-1467(c)


Mayor Don Plusquellic Receives 2014 Public Leadership in the Arts Award
Akron, Ohio (January 24, 2014) - Americans for the Arts, the nation’s leading nonprofit organization for advancing the arts and arts education in partnership with The United States Conference of Mayors (USCM) presented Akron Mayor Don Plusquellic with the 2014 Public Leadership in the Arts Award for Local Arts Leadership for cities with a population of 100,000 or more. The award was presented today at the USCM Winter meeting in Washington, DC.


"Extensive art and cultural programming has helped bring our City to life,” noted Mayor Don Plusquellic. “Just as importantly, we help our young people by exposing them to those free arts programs, workshops, and performances, knowing that many of them might not otherwise get to experience these activities. These encounters make big impressions on our young, foster their artistic nature, and allow them to follow their dreams.”


In addition to the national recognition the Mayor and the City has received for this prestigious award, the Akron Arts Organizations will celebrate the Mayor’s award on Tuesday, February 4 at a program organized by Leadership Akron at Weathervane Playhouse. “The State of Our Arts” program is from 4-6:30 pm.


Mayor Plusquellic currently directs city investment of over one million dollars annually to the performing and visual arts in Akron. During his tenure, the City Akron has supported the arts with direct contributions in excess of $8 million, capital contributions of $10 million, and loan guarantees of $18 million. Even as government budgets were decimated by the Great Recession, Mayor Plusquellic maintained annual contributions to performing arts programs - including the ballet, the Akron Symphony and the Akron Art Museum.


The Mayor’s vision led to demolition of storefronts along Main Street and construction of the popular Lock 3 Pavilion, which has attracted in excess of two million visitors over 11 seasons. Lock 3 is also home of the yearly 4th of July Festival, Italian-American Festival, Nat’l Hamburger Festival, and Global Village Festival. Also, Lock 4 now offers weekly Blues and Jazz concerts and weekly Gospel music all summer.


With the Mayor's blessing and under his direction, the City also underwrites the cost of over 90 professional music performances each summer. His passion for education in the arts is best exemplified by the Lock 3 Summer Arts Experience. Artists are paid to teach high school “apprentices” who receive a cash stipend for their summer work experience. The City funds the program -- $90,000 annually. There have been over 50 professional artists paid since 2003 to mentor over 750 arts students. The City has reaped the benefit of over 25 public arts projects (permanent murals, sculptures and installations).


"Mayor Plusquellic is an elected official who understands the critical importance of arts, culture and creativity in creating vibrant communities and places," said Robert L. Lynch, President and CEO of Americans for the Arts. "For more than 27 years as mayor, he has made funding for the arts and culture, along with other arts friendly policy initiatives a priority of his administration."


“Every year, the U.S. Conference of Mayors recognizes the efforts of those who believe as much as we do, that the arts are the heart of our society. Arts and culture help shape a city’s quality of life, but mayors also understand the connection between the arts and business and the arts’ impact on the local economy,” said U.S. Conference of Mayors CEO and Executive Director Tom Cochran.


Three other awards were presented at the USCM event: Michigan Governor Rick Snyder; Dubuque, IA Mayor Roy Buol and Actress Fran Drescher were also honored.


The U.S. Conference of Mayors is the official nonpartisan organization of cities with populations of 30,000 or more. There are 1,139 such cities in the country today, each represented in the Conference by its chief elected official, the Mayor. Additional information is available at www.USMayors.org


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 50 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.
 

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