Maryland Citizens for the Arts Honor Governor Martin O'Malley and Fred Lazarus IV on Maryland Arts Day Today
Maryland Citizens for the Arts will present Governor Martin O'Malley and President of the Maryland Institute of Art Fred Lazarus IV with the Outstanding Leadership in the Arts Award and the Sue Hess Maryland Arts Advocate of the Year Award, respectively, at Maryland Arts Day, today, February 12, 2014.
During his two terms in office and throughout the deepest recession since the great depression, Governor Martin O'Malley had demonstrated an extraordinary dedication to the arts in Maryland. For this, and for his visionary leadership, Maryland Citizens for the Arts will present Governor Martin O'Malley with their "Outstanding Leadership in the Arts" award created just for this occasion.
"Funding the arts at any level of government takes commitment and an appreciation of the far reaching benefits that a strong arts sector brings to a city, a state and a nation," said Doug Mann, Chair of Maryland Citizens for the Arts. "Governor O'Malley had not only the vision, but the courage to support the arts throughout the recession and his entire time in office. He knows how important a strong arts sector is not only to the state's economy, but to the education of our children, the strength of our communities and to the overall quality of life in our great state. It's for this vision and commitment that for the first time in its forty year history, Maryland Citizens for the Arts has chosen to bestow this special honor to the Governor."
After protecting the State Arts Council's budget throughout the recession, Governor O'Malley's dedication to the arts was recently demonstrated again in his fiscal year 2014 budget in which he increased the General Fund appropriation for the State Arts Council by 15%. Furthermore, the Governor continues to support the Special Fund for the Preservation of Cultural Arts that provides critical supplemental grants, which support the organizational capacity and fiscal stability of our arts organizations.
From his first day in office, Maryland Citizens for the Arts (MCA) has worked with Governor O'Malley and his staff to ensure this commitment remains strong, and proves fruitful. Today, the non-profit arts sector is a $1 billion industry in Maryland, supporting more than 11,000 jobs across the state, serving as community-building partners, and driving economic activity that supports small businesses in every county.
"I am delighted to accept this award on behalf of moms, dads and children across the state of Maryland, " said Governor O'Malley. "This organization understands what we all understand-that the arts, humanities and STEM fields are all connected-and spur the type of growth we want and need in our state. Each great work a Marylander creates brings us one step closer to the world we envision for future generations."
Serving not only as an economic engine but also as a force to strengthen communities and enrich the lives of millions of Marylanders, the arts are an essential component of our daily lives. MCA's Executive Director John Schratwieser sums it up this way, "Governor O'Malley has always been committed to moving Maryland forward. His leadership has demonstrated strength of conviction unmatched in our country; a conviction that the arts are an integral part of who we are as Marylanders, and as human beings. We could not be more proud of or more grateful to our Governor."
Mr. Lazarus has, over the last four decades, had a lasting impact on arts advocacy at the City, State and Federal levels.
A founding chair of both Americans for the Arts and the National Coalition for Education in the Arts, Mr. Lazarus has demonstrated extraordinary leadership in advocating for the arts and arts education at the federal level. In Maryland, in addition to serving as MICA's president since 1978, he has chaired the Maryland Independent Colleges and Universities and the Greater Baltimore Cultural Alliance, was a Founding Trustee of the Baltimore School for the Arts and the Baltimore Design School, and has served on such boards as the American Visionary Art Museum, Maryland Art Place, and the Maryland Commission on Artistic Property.
Across the state of Maryland and the nation, Mr. Lazarus' leadership and innovation are responsible for strong policies and practices supporting the artists, arts administrators and arts organizations. His understanding of, and commitment to partnerships on the local, regional and national level assures that he stands out among arts advocates, simply by practicing what he preaches.
"Maryland's quality of life is among the best in the world, and I believe it is because of the commitment its citizens have made to support the arts and culture," said Lazarus. "We have proven that our focus on innovation and creativity has directly led to leadership in education, commerce, advocacy, and many other forms of human endeavor. I'm honored to accept this award on behalf of the many Marylanders I have collaborated with to advance our shared belief that the arts indispensably elevate our collective human experience."