2017 NACo Arts & Culture Award Winners Announced

From left: Councilman Jerry Red (Arts & Culture Commission Vice Chair), Jay Dick (Arts & Culture Commission member), Don Brown (FCCFA Executive Director), Commissioner Brian Desloge (NACo President), Commissioner Randy Maluchnik (Arts & Culture Commission Vice Chair), Commissioner Renee Price (Arts & Culture Commission Vice Chair), Commissioner Kay Cashion (Arts & Culture Commission Chair), Commissioner Shelley Taub (Arts & Culture Commission Vice Chair).

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The National Association of Counties is pleased to announce the winners of the 2017 NACo Arts & Culture Awards, which were presented at NACo’s 82nd Annual Conference in Franklin County, Ohio.


NACo Arts & Culture Award

The 2017 Arts & Culture Award was presented to Miami-Dade County, Florida, for its “Creativity in the Community” partnership initiative with the Bass Art Museum.

Through this initiative, Miami-Dade County Public Library System brings free art and literacy classes to the surrounding underserved communities of Miami-Dade County using storytelling experiences. Economically disadvantaged and racially/culturally isolated communities were specifically targeted for participation. The initiative engages parents with children ages 2-8 years old to learn, participate and have fun with art programs while promoting early child literacy. Almost 60% of participating children attended at least 4 of 6 workshops. At the end of the program, families participated in a culminating artwork event exhibiting the works of art created, and were then invited on a field trip to a local, art institution or museum.


NACo Local Arts Advocacy Award

The 2017 Local Arts Advocacy Award was presented to the Franklin County Convention Facilities Authority.

The Greater Columbus Arts Council nominated FCCFA for their commitment to local art during the Convention Center’s renovation and expansion. The collection they have built these past few years is now the largest in Franklin County, and was consciously created so as to best highlight the Franklin County community and celebrate the arts. The convention center’s public art collection includes work by both professional and aspiring local artists as well as local K-12 students. The installations can be found throughout the Convention Center, its parking facilities and the adjoining Hilton Hotel. The collection was built to reflect the depth and richness of the county’s culture and the broad diversity of its artists. By presenting local art throughout the Convention Center, FCCFA is able to expose visitors and residents alike to the tremendous talent of Franklin County’s local artists. Thank you to Franklin County Convention Facilities Authority for their commitment to the arts within Franklin County.

The Award was accepted by FCCFA Board Chair Sally Bloomfield (second from the right) and Executive Director Don Brown (far right).


Public Leadership in the Arts Award for County Arts Leadership

The 2017 Public Leadership in the Arts Award for County Arts Leadership, which honors an elected county board or individual leader who has significantly advanced the arts in the communities they serve, was presented to  Commissioner Randy Maluchnik of Carver County, Minnesota.

Maluchnik has been a consistent national voice to promote the arts and culture at the county level. He served as chair of the NACo Arts and Culture Commission for five years—a record—and still serves as a vice chair, helping to ingrain arts and culture policy topics into NACo’s overall work. Through his work as chair of the Arts and Culture Commission, NACo members get to experience arts and culture at each of the national conferences through musical performances, military bands, and theatrical performances. 

In addition to his national work, Maluchnik has been a champion for the arts locally, to include assisting the Arts Consortium of Carver County and bringing art into the County’s Government Center. He backed an effort to display rural farm art outside of the County Board Room. The effort beatified the area, served as a reminder of the agriculture base in a fast-growing county, and captured historic barns which are quickly disappearing from America’s landscape.

Maluchnik also spearheaded a veterans writing event. He worked with the library and local Veteran Services Office to bring in a speaker to assist veterans with writing about their military experience as a way to document their honored service and also as a therapy to assist veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder and use art as a way to treat community mental health. 

“The true value of arts and culture in our communities goes far beyond an aesthetic value but can provide solutions to economic opportunity, mental health, addiction problems, assisting our returning veterans as they reintegrate back to their communities and much, much more. Public officials should use the arts as a solid tool in developing policy that can make our communities a place to live, work, play for a lifetime,” said Maluchnik (pictured below far left).

Since 2003, through the Arts & Culture Awards, NACo has taken the time to recognize county governments for their efforts in enriching American culture and intellectual life, promoting lifelong learning and protecting national heritage. The NACo Arts & Culture Commission was established to demonstrate how the arts can be used by county officials to provide solutions to many of the challenges that they face.

Americans for the Arts established the Public Leadership in the Arts Award for County Arts Leadership award in 1999 to recognize the positive role county government leaders play in improving arts programs, increasing funding to the arts and making the arts accessible in their communities.

All photo credits to David Hathcox.

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