Americans for the Arts’ President and CEO Receives JFK Commonwealth Award
February 21, 2017
Last week, Robert L. Lynch, Americans for the Arts’ president and CEO, received the inaugural JFK Commonwealth Award at the 2017 Commonwealth Awards at the Massachusetts State House in Boston. A Massachusetts native, Lynch has long advocated for the protection of the National Endowment for the Arts and other federal cultural agencies.
“Very few Americans can speak as authentically, knowledgeably, and passionately about the myriad public benefits of the arts and culture as Bob Lynch,” said Anita Walker, who directs the Massachusetts Cultural Council, in a press release. “As we work to preserve our cultural legacy for future generations, it’s important to honor those who fight to maintain and build upon President Kennedy’s commitment to the arts and humanities and their vital role in our democracy.”
President Kennedy celebrated the arts and humanities during his presidential term, and, upon his assassination, Congress designated the National Cultural Center as a “living memorial” to Kennedy, and authorized $23 million to build the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. In addition, his successor, Lyndon B. Johnson, signed into law the National Foundation on the Arts and Humanities Act, which enabled the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities to become independent agencies.
“The arts, artists, and cultural institutions cannot thrive without champions who tell their story to the wider world,” said Steven M. Rothstein, Executive Director of the John F. Kennedy Library Foundation. “President Kennedy knew this well, and used the bully pulpit of the presidency to celebrate the unique power of the arts and humanities. So it is appropriate that our first JFK Commonwealth Award recipient is someone who has embodied that role for our generation.”
Lynch earned a bachelor’s degree in English from the University of Massachusetts Amherst and lives in Washington, DC.
Photo Credit: Americans for the Arts.