New Bedford Mayor Mitchell Wins National Award for Local Arts Leadership
New Bedford Mayor Jon Mitchell has long been an advocate of the arts and culture scene in New Bedford, and this past week he was honored by the U.S. Conference of Mayors for his dedication to the arts and ensuring their promotion.
Mitchell was awarded the National Award for Local Arts Leadership.
The U.S. Conference of Mayors stated that “from the first day of his administration in 2012, Mayor Mitchell has prioritized the cultivation of the city’s creative sector as an integral component of economic, social, and cultural development that enhances the quality of life for residents and visitors alike. Over the past decade, he has helped advance New Bedford as one of the most culturally unique and creative cities in America.”
It pointed to his 2016 proposal of the Arts, Culture and Tourism fund, later enacted in 2017, to use part of the city budget to promote the city’s artistic and cultural assets as just one of the many ways Mitchell has pushed for more support for the arts. That led to the City’s first-ever strategic arts and culture plan published in December 2018.
“A reverence for artistic expression was first woven into New Bedford’s identity in the whaling era when the city was a global focal point for new ideas and creativity, and that sensibility has endured, thanks to a foundation of thriving cultural institutions, a beehive of working artists, and broad civic support for the arts,” Mitchell said. “This award is a validation of our city’s long legacy of excellence in creative endeavor and of the hard work and ingenuity of our creative sector. I’m proud to accept this award on behalf of all the people that make New Bedford a thriving cultural hub.”
Rhode Island Governor Dan McKee was presented with the National Award for State Arts Leadership, and David Holt, Mayor of Oklahoma City, won the National Award for Local Arts Leadership for larger cities.
“The leadership of Governor McKee, Mayor Holt, and Mayor Mitchell should inspire all those serving in public office. Their belief in the power of the arts to connect people and drive civic engagement, and their unparalleled commitment to supporting arts programs exemplify how investment in the arts translates into community growth, economic prosperity, and increased cultural funding,” said Nolen V. Bivens, president and CEO of Americans for the Arts.
Presented with Legendary Artist Awards were Louis “Eric B” Barrier, who is one half of the iconic hip hop duo Eric B. & Rakim, as well as Kool DJ Red Alert.