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Washington D.C. – On behalf of the U.S. Conference of Mayors and Americans for the Arts, Mayor Mufi Hannemann today presented annual Leadership in the Arts awards to four individuals who have made outstanding contributions to American art and culture.


            “In these tough economic times, we must not forget the importance of the arts to our culture, spirit, civic life and economic growth,” said Mayor Hannemann, who presided over the event as chairman of the USCM Tourism, Arts, Parks, Entertainment and Sports Committee. “These four individuals have been true leaders in America’s vibrant arts and entertainment scene, and we are very proud to honor them for their achievements.”


            The award winners and specific awards are:


  • Greg Nickels, Mayor of Seattle, 2009 National Award for Local Arts Leadership;
  • Arnold Schwarzenegger, Governor of California, 2009 National Award for State Arts Leadership;
  • Kerry Washington, national award-winning actress, 2009 Artist Citizen Award;
  • Hill Harper, accomplished film, television and stage actor; 2009 Artist Citizen Award.


The Leadership in the Arts awards are sponsored each year by the U.S. Conference of Mayors and Americans for the Arts. The awards recognize outstanding contributions to the arts by public and officials, private organizations and individuals.


The USCM 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 initiatives, 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.


The USCM, behind Mayor Hannemann’s leadership, along with the efforts of other national arts advocates, have resulted in increased funding for the arts, especially for the National Endowment for the Arts.


On Saturday, Mayor Hannemann and Chicago Mayor Richard Daley co-chaired the first meeting of the Chicago 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Games Task Force, a public and private-sector group formed to support Chicago’s proposal to host the games that year.


The Olympic and Paralympic Games are expected to boost the nation’s travel industry substantially and draw international attention to Chicago and other U.S. cities. The Games will also provide an opportunity to inspire young people in cities across the country and around the world to participate in sports.


Mayor Hannemann urged mayors from other cities to support the Olympic efforts. At the task force’s plenary session, he announced the group’s plan for cities across the country to support the Olympics coming to America.


Chicago is one of four Candidate Cities bidding to host the 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Games. The other cities are Madrid, Tokyo and Rio de Janeiro. The International Olympic Committee will announce its final selection in October 2009.


“If Chicago wins its bid in October, we all win,” Mayor Hannemann said. “It’s no longer Chicago’s bid, but America’s bid.”


Also on Saturday, Mayor Hannemann chaired a meeting of the USCM Tourism, Arts, Parks, Entertainment and Sports Committee, where he reviewed the group’s travel- and arts-related recommendations to the new presidential administration.


He also urged fellow mayors to proclaim this April Jazz Appreciation Month in their cities.


“Jazz is an original American art form that has produced some of America’s leading creative artists,” he said.




Media contact: Bill Brennan, Mayor’s Office, 527-6928