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Americans for the Arts recognizes our very own, Lara Davis with the American Express Emerging Leaders Award

Americans for the Arts, the nation’s leading nonprofit organization for advancing the arts and arts education in America, announced that Lara Davis, ARTS very own, Arts Education Manager will be honored by Americans for the Arts with the American Express Emerging Leaders Award. Davis is one of six recipients of the 2015 Americans for the Arts Annual Leadership Awards. Presented each year, these awards recognize the achievements of individuals and organizations committed to enriching their communities through the arts.

LaraHeadShot“We are thrilled and honored that Americans for the Arts is recognizing the amazing work that Lara is doing for the Creative Advantage initiative,” says Randy Engstrom, director, Seattle Office of Arts & Culture. “Lara’s drive and tireless energy inspires everyone she meets and is a large part of the Creative Advantage’s success.”

The Creative Advantage is a partnership between City of Seattle, Seattle Public Schools, The Seattle Foundation, and local community arts organizations. The goal of the Creative Advantage is to address the systemic barriers to student access to arts and ensure that every student has arts integrated into their education, starting in kindergarten. The long term goal is that by 2020, all Seattle students will have access to a continuum of arts learning opportunities.

“Our Leadership Awards honorees have distinguished themselves as tremendous leaders and passionate advocates for the arts and arts education,” said Robert L. Lynch, President and CEO of Americans for the Arts. “These leaders have implemented innovative and transformative programs to strengthen the communities they serve, and their unwavering commitment to local, state, and national support for the arts is deserving of this recognition.”

Given annually since 2006 and sponsored by American Express since 2011, the American Express Emerging Leaders Award recognizes an exceptional new and/or young arts professional for their exemplary leadership, deep engagement with community, and strong commitment to advancing the arts. Lara Davis has been active in youth development and community arts education for more than a decade. She has served as a Seattle arts commissioner and as program director for Arts Corps, an award-winning, Seattle-based youth arts organization. In her current role as Arts Education Manager for the City of Seattle Office of Arts & Culture, Davis manages Creative Advantage, a public/private partnership that pairs teaching artists and cultural organizations with underserved public schools to ensure that all Seattle youth in every neighborhood have equal access to arts learning. Davis serves on the National Advisory Committee for the Teaching Artists Guild, and facilitates equity and racial justice trainings for teaching artists, educators, and organizations, presenting locally and at national conferences.

Honorees will be presented their awards at the Americans for the Arts 2015 Annual Convention in Chicago during the Opening Plenary session, Friday, June 12, 2015 from 12 to 2:15 p.m.

The five other recipients are:

  • Association for Public Art, Pennsylvania: Public Art Network Award
  • Eric Booth, New York: Arts Education Award
  • Jeff Hawthorne, Oregon: Michael Newton Award
  • Richard E. Huff, Texas: Selina Roberts Ottum Award
  • Ann Marie Miller, New Jersey: Alene Valkanas State Arts Advocacy Award

Americans for the Arts is the leading nonprofit organization for advancing the arts and arts education in America. With offices in Washington, D.C. and New York City, it has a record of more than 50 years of service. Americans for the Arts is dedicated to representing and serving local communities and creating opportunities for every American to participate in and appreciate all forms of the arts. Additional information is available at

 Photo credit: Fedora El Morrow