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White Plains Mayor Thomas Roach was one of three elected officials honored Jan. 19 with a 2024 Public Leadership in the Arts Award at The United States Conference of Mayors 92nd Winter Meeting in Washington D.C.
Roach was presented with the National Award for Local Arts Leadership for cities with a population of fewer than 100,000 by the Americans for the Arts and The United States Conference of Mayors.
Americans for the Arts and The United States Conference of Mayors have been awarding honors to elected officials for their work to support the arts in their communities since 1997.
“The arts are an integral part of what makes White Plains a special and economically vibrant city. Our active and robust art scene is the result of our work with partners throughout our community who help us explore new ways to engage our diverse community in art and culture unleashing exceptional creativity and imagination,” Roach said.
“I proudly accept the Local Arts Leadership award on behalf of our strong arts and business partners, and residents who collaborate with city officials to invigorate an art community that is enjoyed and valued by everyone who lives, works and visits the City of White Plains,” he added.
Roach was nominated for the award by ArtsWestchester, which was encouraged by Roach to host a five-day Serious Fun Arts Fest in 2022 that resulted in two days of concerts downtown and 18 new mural and sculpture installations. In addition, a six-story contemporary artwork was completed on the ArtsWestchester building by renowned artist Amanda Browder.
The mayor and common council were also credited with being instrumental in the success and growth of the city’s annual five-day JazzFest White Plains festival over the past 12 years that has provided free entertainment for residents and visitors.
Colorado Governor Jared Polis and St. Louis Mayor Tishaura O. Jones were also award recipients, as was Poet Laureate Honey Bell-Bey from Ohio.
“It’s an honor for Americans for the Arts to recognize the unwavering dedication and impact that Governor Polis, Mayor Jones, Mayor Roach, and Ms. Bell-Bey have had in their respective communities, where they have championed the availability of arts for all,” said Nolen V. Bivens, president and CEO of Americans for the Arts. “Their visionary leadership serves as a shining testament to how elected officials can make a real difference in their home cities and states. By prioritizing arts funding, they have inspired community pride, ignited creativity, and driven economic success, contributing to the nation’s $151.7 billion in economic activity. Their achievements serve as inspiration for leaders to come together in pursuit of a brighter future.”
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