New Cabinet Nominees Have Pro-Arts Records

Posted by Robert L. Lynch, Jun 10, 2013 0 comments

Americans for the Arts is working with both agencies to further an arts agenda. For example, I serve on the U.S. Travel & Tourism Advisory Board, which reports to the Commerce Secretary, on strategies to further our national, and international, travel and tourism sectors. The arts and culture are a major reason for tourists to visit the United States and through the Board’s advocacy subcommittee, which I lead, we are working on recommendations to strengthen the ease of travel; the security of our visa system; the support for our institutions, venues, and events; and the visitor experience. From a business sector perspective, our Arts & Economic Impact IV study shows that the nonprofit arts have a $135 billion a year economic impact, support 4.1 million jobs, and return almost $10 billion a year in revenue to the federal Treasury. The Commerce Department has many programs that our arts leaders and creative industries are pursuing and utilizing to support their businesses.

Penny PritzkerPenny Pritzker

The Pritzker family name has long been associated with arts philanthropy at both a local and national level.  From the famed Pritzker Prize for Architecture to the Pritzker Pavilion at Chicago’s Millennium Park, these programs among many are proof positive that support of fine art and architecture helps to build strong communities and draw in visitors. Ms. Pritzker is an internationally known collector of contemporary art and is the past chair of the board of the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago. She is also a supporter of the Art institute of Chicago and the Renaissance Society at the University of Chicago. Through the family foundation that Ms. Pritzker formed with her husband, Dr. Bryan Traubert, The Pritzker Traubert Family Foundation supports educational needs in their home city as well as health & fitness and art & culture, building on their belief that “a city that values learning, promotes physical well-being and appreciates the arts will thrive for generations to come.” Not resting on being simply a local supporter, Ms. Pritzker also sits on the board of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, DC and in 2012 was inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.  

Anthony FoxxAnthony Foxx

Last year’s National Arts Marketing Project Conference, Getting Down to Business, was held in the Queen City.  I had the pleasure of introducing Mayor Anthony Foxx to almost 600 attendees. He gave us all a warm welcome to Charlotte - a diverse community that values arts and culture and continues to be recognized and selected as a meeting destination by an increasing number of organizations.

On transportation issues, Americans for the Arts’ Public Art Network members have long been advocates for the federal Transportation Enhancement program, which is a federal and state partnership that has provided millions of dollars for needed infrastructural improvements throughout our country, including design, historic preservation, and rehabilitation and tourism facilities that help to serve visitors and customers from around the world.

Mayor Foxx has been a transit supporter and leader in Charlotte, supporting the incorporation of art into design and construction of capital transit projects. The Charlotte Area Transit System, (CATS) Art-in-Transit program has worked with 35 artists to integrate art into 16 transit projects, three of which have been recognized by Public Art Network’s Year in Review annual award. Most recently, Mayor Foxx has championed Charlotte’s Street Car project and the city is moving forward to build the new Gold Line.

I hope for a speedy confirmation process for these two stellar nominees. Their leadership at the federal level will be informed by their proven commitment to the arts at the local level and it is our hope that they will both help to foster support for the nonprofit arts sector throughout the country in their respective arenas.

Americans for the Arts has helped to prove that the arts are a powerful partner in building trade and commerce as well as improving the infrastructure of our transportation systems, and I look forward to welcoming Ms. Pritzker and Mayor Foxx to Washington and working with them and their staff to build upon these partnerships and strengthen our nation’s communities through the arts.

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