Americans for the Arts, the nation’s leading nonprofit organization for advancing the arts in America, and the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL), today presented the National Award for State Arts Leadership to Rep. Brent Yonts of Kentucky. The award honors public officials who have demonstrated outstanding leadership in the advancement of the arts at the state level. It was presented at the National Conference of State Legislatures Fall Forum in Washington, DC, as part of the Public Leadership in the Arts Award series.
Rep. Yonts receives the 2015 National Award for State Arts Leadership for his work on the national level to re-introduce the arts and culture to the members and staff of the National Conference of State Legislatures. In 2008/2009, Rep. Yonts chaired the Labor and Economic Development Committee, which counts the arts and culture as part of its policy portfolio, and embraced the Arts and Economic Prosperity Report and other economically based research on the value of the arts and culture to society. He remains an active member as Vice-Chair of this committee and continues to promote the arts and culture.
“Art, in all forms, lift the spirit and soul,” stated Rep. Yonts. “Art gives people hope and focus. Art helped bring us out of the great depression as part of the New Deal and is equally valuable to current society to help bring the same positive outcome to the lives of people.”
Rep. Yonts also oversaw NCSL’s first ever Arts and Culture Policy Directive on the Arts, Culture and Economic Development which states:
NCSL encourages the federal government to support arts and culture through investments in State and Local programs that will promote economic development, job creation and community revitalization. NCSL also encourages collaboration and coordination among the Federal Government’s disparate arts, culture and economic development agencies as they consider State and local programs ensure that the policy and program outcomes meet the needs and goals identified by state policymakers.
“We're pleased that Kentucky Representative Brent Yonts is being honored,” said Lori Meadows, Executive Director of the Kentucky Arts Council. “His work on the National Conference of State Legislatures has increased the visibility of the arts and its impact on state economies, including Kentucky.”
“Representative Yonts has done tremendous work on the national level through NCSL and throughout the state of Kentucky,” said Robert L. Lynch, president and CEO of Americans for the Arts. “His leadership, dedication, and support of the arts has been unwavering, and has positively impacted the lives of residents as well as visitors.”
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.