On January 23, 2015 Mayor Annise Parker received 2015 National Award for Local Arts Leadership for cities with population of 100,000 or more. The Americans for the Arts, the nation’s leading nonprofit organization for advancing the arts and arts education and The United States Conference of Mayors (USCM) presented the award to Mayor Parker at the USCM Mayors’ Winter Meeting.
For 17 years as a council member, controller and now Mayor of Houston, Mayor Parker has been an avid supporter of the arts. As a council member she shepherded a civic art ordinance that sets aside 1.75% of qualifying capital improvement projects. She introduced and passed an ordinance to use the Hotel Occupancy Tax to provide an unprecedented amount of funding—up to $86 million over 5 years —for arts and cultural organizations and programming. Working with her Office of Cultural Affairs, Mayor Parker has launched a large public engagement and planning process to develop a vision, goals and objectives for the future of arts and culture in Houston. Additionally, Mayor Parker nominated “Cultural Districts,” representing Houston’s Museum District, Theater District, Midtown Arts District and others, which have successfully been designated by the Texas Commission on the Arts. Through the Mayor’s Office of Economic Development, the Mayor has introduced economic tools to help further the enhancement of cultural institutions including the Museum of Fine Arts Houston. In partnership with the Houston Arts Alliance, new civic artworks have been commissioned, purchased or are underway. And Mayor Parker is a poet and writer herself; in 2013, she named Houston’s first poet laureate.
Additional honorees included Donnalee Lozeau, Mayor of Nashua, New Hampshire, for the National Award for Local Arts Leadership for cities with a population fewer than $100,000 and Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper for the National Award for State Arts Leadership.