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Mayor Mufi Hannemann will represent the U.S. Conference of Mayors in Washington DC to support arts and culture at a congressional hearing and an important national arts conference next week.

He will also meet with James Simpson, administrator of the Federal Transit Administration, and congressional leaders and staff regarding progress on Honolulu’s planned fixed guideway transit system.

Mayor Hannemann will address the House Interior Appropriations Subcommittee with other arts leaders on Tuesday to support the annual appropriations bill for the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA).

He will represent Honolulu and the US Conference of Mayors at the Arts Advocacy Day Convention in Washington.

“Art and culture are very important to Honolulu and our nation, and I strongly support the National Endowment for the Arts,” Mayor Hannemann said. “Art is an integral part of our society, and I’m honored to be identified as a leading arts advocate in our country.”

Mayor Hannemann is chairman of the US Conference of Mayors Standing Committee on Tourism, Arts, Parks, Entertainment and Sports.

He will testify in support of a $176 million budget for the NEA’s creation, preservation, and presentation of culture and the arts in the U.S.

Mayor Hannemann will address U.S. Rep. Norm Dicks, Chairman of the House Interior Appropriations Subcommittee, and other members of Congress on the importance of the arts in education.  Testifying alongside Mayor Hannemann will be director and academy-award winning actor Robert Redford; R&B Recording Artist John Legend; former Vice Dean of the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania Jonathan Spector; and actor/singer Brian Stokes Mitchell.

The annual Arts Advocacy Day Convention brings together artists, arts advocates and educators, and other leaders in the arts community in the nation’s capital to highlight the importance of the arts and culture in communities across the country.

The U.S. Conference of Mayors has developed a 10-point plan to guide the new president and Congress in addressing issues that affect Americans. As a result of Mayor Hannemann’s efforts, the plan includes support for tourism and the arts, and calls for the creation of a Cabinet-level Secretary of Culture and Tourism charged with forming a national policy for arts, culture and tourism.

Mayor Hannemann traveled to New Hampshire last November to participate in the first-ever presidential forum on the arts, co-sponsored by Americans for the Arts, to urge presidential candidates to focus on and support the arts. As a result of the forum, five of the candidates, two of whom are still running, submitted platforms on the arts.

Mayor Hannemann noted that Honolulu’s vibrant arts scene helped prompt Monocle Magazine and the International Herald-Tribune to recognize it as one of “The Top Ten Most Livable Cities,” along with such high-profile destinations as Copenhagen, Madrid, Munich, Sydney, Tokyo and Vienna. Honolulu was the only U.S. city so recognized.

“As the city develops, Honolulu’s once-sleepy arts sector is flourishing,” the International Herald-Tribune reported.

“This designation is a testament to the people and culture of Honolulu, and it underscores our commitment to the arts,” Mayor Hannemann said.

He said his meetings with FTA administrator Simpson and congressional leaders are part of an ongoing effort to keep federal decision-makers informed about the progress the City has made on its rail transit project.

U.S. House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure Chairman James Oberstar appeared at a news conference in Honolulu today and described the City’s project as one of the best and most exciting in the U.S.

Rep. Oberstar, who visited Honolulu at the invitation of U.S. Rep. Mazie Hirono, said the project is worthy of major federal funding support. The Mayor and his team had an opportunity to brief the two on the project’s progress, and gave them a helicopter tour of the route.

“I’m looking forward to apprising congressional leaders and FTA administrator Simpson on the latest developments regarding our rail transit project,” Mayor Hannemann said.

Contact: Michael Pili Pang, Mayor’s Office of Culture and the Arts director, 523-4674


Friday, March 28, 2008

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