Annual Leadership Awards

Presented each year in conjunction with Americans for the Arts Annual Convention, these awards recognize the achievements of individuals, organizations, or programs committed to enriching their communities through the arts. Learn more about each award and nominate yourself or a colleague.

  • Alene Valkanas State Arts Advocacy Award honors an individual at the state level whose arts advocacy efforts have dramatically affected the political landscape.
  • Arts Education Award recognizes transformational leadership in arts education through strategic planning, strong programming, and the engagement of partners to achieve community goals.
  • Emerging Leader Award recognizes visionary leadership by an individual who is a new and/or young arts leader who demonstrates an ability to engage and impact his or her community.
  • Michael Newton Award recognizes an individual for his or her innovation in developing arts and business partnerships for the arts and/or long-term achievement in effective and creative techniques to engage the private sector.
  • Public Art Network Award recognizes an individual or organization that demonstrates innovative and creative contributions and/or exemplary commitment and leadership in the field of public art.
  • Selina Roberts Ottum Award recognizes an individual working in arts management who has made a meaningful contribution to his or her local community and who exemplifies extraordinary leadership qualities.
  • Robert E. Gard Award celebrates exemplary work at the intersection of the arts and community life.

Access the nomination form and view more information about the award criteria.

Robert E. Gard Award Nominations

To nominate a project for the 2019 Gard Award, click here! You must be a member of Americans for the Arts to nominate a project, but you do not have to be a member of Americans for the Arts to be nominated. To access the nomination form, please Login in the upper right hand corner of the page and refresh the page. Nominations close March 11, 2019.

National Award for Public Leadership in the Arts

These awards are given in recognition of elected officials who advance of the arts and arts education within their communities and whose vision and leadership provide heightened visibility to the value of the arts.

Presented in cooperation with the United States Conference of Mayors

  • Congressional Arts Leadership Award
  • National Award for Local Arts Leadership
  • National Award for State Arts Leadership
  • National Legendary Artist Award

Presented in cooperation with the National Lieutenant Governors Association

  • Lieutenant Governor Arts Leadership Award

Presented in cooperation with the National Conference of State Legislatures

  • State Legislator Arts Leadership Award

Presented in cooperation with the National Association of Counties

  • County Arts Leadership Award

Learn more about when and how to nominate your elected official and see a list of past recipients.