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Florida Senator Don Gaetz Receives Public Leadership in the Arts Award

Americans for the Arts Recognizes Sen. Gaetz for Restoring Investments in Florida’s Arts and Culture

Americans for the Arts presented the 2014 State Legislatures Arts Leadership Award to Florida Senator Don Gaetz. As part of the Public Leadership in the Arts, this award recognizes elected officials who advance the arts and arts education within their communities and whose vision and leadership provide heightened visibility to the value of the arts.

Sen. Gaetz (R-FL) received the award on Dec. 12 during the National Conference of State Legislatures Meeting in Washington, D.C.

“From restoring full funding for all five of the Florida Division of Cultural Affairs grants programs to securing funding for over 400 grants, Sen. Gaetz has elevated Florida’s commitment to its arts and culture,” said Robert L. Lynch, president and CEO of Americans for the Arts. “We applaud his efforts and those of state legislatures around the country who understand the economic importance of supporting the arts and culture industries in every state. 

Sen. Gaetz has been a passionate advocate for the arts and culture industry in Florida. As senate president, Sen. Gaetz made it possible for the state of Florida to appropriate $43.2 million to fully fund over 420 qualified programmatic and cultural facilities grants recommended by Florida's state arts agency.  This restored investment makes it possible for this industry to preserve and create jobs, impact tourism, leverage millions in matching dollars, diversify and build the economy, generate revenues back to local and state government treasuries, attract and retain key businesses, improve student achievement and graduation rates, create greater access to cultural programs, and enrich the lives of both residents of and visitors to Florida. 

Senator Gaetz, Nevada Senator Debbie Smith, and Americans for the Arts Jay Dick
Senator Don Gaetz, Nevada Senator Debbie Smith, and Americans for the Arts Director of State and Local Government Affairs Jay Dick

“Sen. Gaetz is a true champion who understands the power of leadership to advance Florida's $3.1 billion arts and culture industry,” said Sherron Long, president of the Florida Cultural Alliance, who nominated Sen. Gaetz for the award. “He deserves special recognition for using his powerful voice to restore Florida's investment in the arts.”

Sen. Gaetz was elected to the Florida Senate in 2006, subsequently re-elected, and served as senate president during the 2013 and 2014 legislative sessions. Before joining the senate, he was the co-founder and vice chairman of VITAS Healthcare Corporation and president and chairman of Caregivers, Inc.

“America alone among nations proclaims ‘the pursuit of happiness’ in the title deeds of our freedom,” remarked Sen. Gaetz. “That makes public support of the arts as American as a Fourth of July concert in the park.”

To learn more about Americans for the Arts’ Public Leadership in the Arts awards, visit bit.ly/1CJFGZH.

Americans for the Arts is the leading nonprofit organization for advancing the arts and arts education in America. With offices in Washington, D.C. and New York City, it has a record of more than 50 years of service. Americans for the Arts is dedicated to representing and serving local communities and creating opportunities for every American to participate in and appreciate all forms of the arts. Additional information is available at www.AmericansForTheArts.org.