O'Malley recognized for arts leadership

January 23, 2004|By Chris Kaltenbach

Martin O'Malley, full-time Baltimore mayor and part-time rock musician, was honored yesterday by a national arts organization for his understanding of "the value of an arts education to a child's life."

The 2004 National Award for Arts Leadership, sponsored by Americans for the Arts and the United States Conference of Mayors, was presented to O'Malley during a break in the conference yesterday afternoon.

Robert L. Lynch, president and CEO of the nonprofit advocacy group Americans for the Arts, also praised O'Malley for understanding "the importance of using the arts to help enhance Baltimore's quality of life, while at the same time, realizing its economic potential."

The groups noted that O'Malley elevated the local arts agency to a cabinet-level position as part of the city's Office of Promotion and the Arts, supported the creation of new Arts and Entertainment Districts (including one in Highlandtown) and created a Cultural Tourism Council.

In addition, the groups noted, O'Malley established the "Be Instrumental" initiative, to refurbish arts programs in city schools. The program has helped put more than $1.4 million worth of musical instruments in the schools, as well as hire 10 new teachers and raise $400,000 to support new programs.

"The mayor's honored to have received this award," said his deputy press secretary, Rick Abbruzzese. "The arts are an important key to economic development in our city. The mayor is committed to leveraging the city's cultural assets and talented and creative workforce to improve the quality of life for all Baltimore citizens."

Also honored were non-politicians Tony Bennett, given the groups' Arts Legacy Award for his role in establishing New York's Frank Sinatra School for the Arts, and Henry Winkler, given the 2004 Legendary Artist Award for commitment to children's causes, specifically dyslexia. Pennsylvania Gov. Edward G. Rendell received the groups' National Award for State Arts Leadership.

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