By Staff Writer
In partnership with the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL), Americans for the Arts has presented California State Senator Ben Allen who was born and raised in Santa Monica represents much of the Westside with the Public Leadership in the Arts Award for State Arts Leadership. The award honors state officials who effectively lead the arts advancement movement in their region. The ceremony took place last week at the NCSL Capitol Forum in Washington, DC.
“Senator Allen is very deserving of this national award given his leadership in support of arts education for the past four years,” said Robert L. Lynch, president and CEO of Americans for the Arts. “From authoring the Dance and Theatre Credential bill, which brought back credentials for those subjects after 40 years, to his successful advocacy this past legislative session to fund grants to support arts education in underserved districts. Further, as chair of the Senate Education Committee and Chair of the Joint Committee on the Arts, he is doubly deserving.”
Since being elected in 2014, Sen. Allen has introduced four extensive bills that would increase access to the arts in schools and help keep entertainment industry jobs in California—most notably the landmark Theatre and Dance Act (SB 916). He also held an oversight hearing to examine why the visual and performing arts are not widely incorporated into the curriculum as required by state law. The lack of visual and performing arts education is particularly acute in disadvantaged communities. He is leading a robust effort to ensure that all students are exposed to the arts in their school curriculum.
“As Chair of the California Legislature’s Joint Committee on the Arts I am able to shine a spotlight on the important role that the arts and humanities play in our state’s cultural vibrancy, creative economy and most critically, in delivering a comprehensive education to our students,” Allen said.
“Sen. Allen possesses what any arts education advocate yearns for in an elected official—a deep understanding of the transformative power the arts hold in the life of every student, and the skills, relationships, and determination that can move mountains. We know how lucky we are to have him on our side,” said Joe Landon, Executive Director of the California Alliance for Arts Education.