Monday, December 11, 2017

Americans for the Arts and the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) today presented the Public Leadership in the Arts Award for State Arts Leadership to Arkansas Senator Joyce Elliott. The award, presented at the NCSL Capitol Forum in San Diego, honors public officials who have demonstrated outstanding leadership in the advancement of the arts at the state level.  
“Senator Elliott has done tremendous work on the national level through NCSL and throughout the state of Arkansas,” said Robert L. Lynch, president and CEO of Americans for the Arts. “Her leadership, dedication, and support of the arts and arts education has been unwavering, and has positively impacted the lives of residents. I applaud her for her commitment and the results she has achieved. She is a leader very much worthy of this recognition.”
Sen. Elliot serves as Vice Chair of the Arkansas Senate Education Committee, and is former Co-Chair of the NCSL Education Committee. She is often recognized for her work in support of families, women, and underserved populations, but most often for her work in support of education. She has voiced public support for the integration of the arts across the curriculum, and she has offered her support to the work of the new Arkansans for the Arts. In her keynote speech at the 2017 Arts Education Partnership Annual Convening in Washington, DC, she spoke about the importance of a quality arts education for every student.  
Sen. Elliott was also a key member of the Arkansas team of the State Policy Pilot Program, a three-year initiative based out of Americans for the Arts, aimed at enabling the development of leadership in state-level policy-makers, advocates, researchers, and grantmakers towards developing achievable policy pursuits and sustainable advocacy infrastructures. On the Arkansas team, Sen. Elliott worked to advance arts education in the state.  
“When I was growing up, access to the arts was minuscule at best, mainly because of economic conditions, perception of value and a lack of advocacy on behalf the arts. I consider the arts integral to completion of the human soul, not an a la carte option. It is crucial that our advocacy centers on ensuring art is a part of the main course of life,” said Sen. Elliott. 
William Pound, NCSL Executive Director said, “Sen. Elliot is a strong advocate for the arts both at home and committees she has served on at NCSL. We congratulate her on this very deserving award.”
Sen. Elliott earned her B.A. in English and speech from Southern Arkansas University in 1973 and her M.A. in English from Ouachita Baptist University in 1981. Her professional experience includes working for The College Board, as a high school English teacher in Arkansas, Texas, Florida, and Minnesota, and as the Director of Legislative Outreach for the Southwestern Region for The College Board.
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 55 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
National Conference of State Legislatures is a bipartisan organization that serves the legislators and staffs of the states, commonwealths, and territories. It provides research, technical assistance, and opportunities for policymakers to exchange ideas on the most pressing state issues and is an effective and respected advocate for the interests of the states in the American federal system.
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