NCSL and Americans for the Arts presented California Senator Ben Allen (D) with the Public Leadership in the Arts Award for State Arts Leadership Monday in Sacramento. The award honors state officials who effectively lead the arts advancement movement in their region.
Since being elected in 2014, Allen has introduced four extensive bills that would increase access to the arts in schools and help keep entertainment industry jobs in California—most notably the landmark Theatre and Dance Act (SB 916).
He also held an oversight hearing to examine why the visual and performing arts are not widely incorporated into the curriculum as required by state law. The lack of visual and performing arts education is particularly acute in disadvantaged communities. He is leading a robust effort to ensure that all students are exposed to the arts in their school curriculum.
In his role as chair of the Joint Committee on the Arts, Allen has focused the attention of policymakers on the important role the arts and humanities play in the state’s economy and in the region’s communities.
Allen continues to strive for quality educational and economic opportunities in the state of California by participating as a member of the NCSL Redistricting and Elections Committee; Select Committee on Career Technology and the New Economy; and the Business, Professions and Economic Development Committee. Other notable appointed positions include the board of directors of both the State Allocation Board and Public Works Board. He also co-chairs the Environmental Caucus and is vice-chair of the Jewish Caucus.
“I’d like to thank Americans for the Arts and the National Conference of State Legislatures for this extraordinary honor,” Allen said. “As chair of the California Legislature’s Joint Committee on the Arts, I am able to shine a spotlight on the important role that the arts and humanities play in our state’s cultural vibrancy, creative economy and most critically, in delivering a comprehensive education to our students. It is with pride, and an acknowledgment of the shared accomplishments of my state, my colleagues and my team that I humbly accept this award.”