(LOUISVILLE, KY, June 24, 2020) —Americans for the Arts today announced that Fund for the Arts President and CEO Christen Boone has been honored with the Michael Newton Award at Americans for the Arts digital Annual Convention and Public Art & Civic Design Conference. This award recognizes an individual for their innovation in developing arts and business partnerships for the arts and long-term achievement in effective and creative techniques to engage the private sector. It is part of a suite of leadership awards that recognize the achievements of individuals and organizations committed to enriching their communities through the arts.

Boone is the President & CEO of the Fund for the Arts, one of the country’s largest privately funded regional arts agencies.  Boone has leveraged the power of the arts and parks to build stronger, more vibrant communities. The Fund for the Arts drives arts access, education and innovation, raises more than $8 million annually, and supports more than 100 organizations, artists, and initiatives. Since joining the Fund in 2014, Boone helped to facilitate the cultural plan Imagine Greater Louisville 2020, recenter the organization’s work around data-driven community impact and elevate the role of the arts as a driver of community change, growth, and equity.

 Before joining the Fund in 2014, Boone served in leadership roles for some of the country’s most treasured cultural institutions. She has raised more than $250 million for organizations, including Actors Theatre of Louisville, High Museum of Art in Atlanta, Cincinnati’s Artswave, and Parklands of Floyds Fork, one of the nation’s largest new urban parks. She founded the Boone Group, coaching and consulting in nonprofit and community development. Boone has served as Chair of the Private Sector Council for Americans for the Arts, inspiring innovative collaborations between arts and business across the country.

“There’s an electricity when forward-thinking and community-focused minds get together,” said Boone. “I believe in the power of the arts to change the world and through innovative public-private partnerships between creatives and the business community, we have seen so many impactful projects come to life.  Our artists are inspiring, challenging, and educating us – and even more so throughout the COVID pandemic and now as we advance forward to racial justice for our community.  This recognition is a recognition of the work the team at the Fund for the Arts do every day, and the partnerships with our board, arts partners and donors.  I am confident the arts will help to lead the way to a stronger Louisville for the future – for ALL of us.”

The five other leadership award recipients are:

  • Helen Eaton, Philadelphia, PA – Arts Education Award, which recognizes transformational leadership in arts education through strategic planning, strong programming, and the engagement of partners to achieve community goals.
  • Anne S. Graham, Austin, TX – Alene Valkanas State Arts Advocacy Award, which honors an individual at the state level whose arts advocacy efforts have dramatically affected the political landscape.
  • Janet T. Langsam, West Chester, NY – Selina Roberts Ottum Award, which recognizes an individual working in arts management who has made a meaningful contribution to their local community and who exemplifies extraordinary leadership qualities.
  • Rick Lowe, Houston, TX – Public Art Network Award, which recognizes an individual or organization that demonstrates innovative and creative contributions and/or exemplary commitment and leadership in the field of public art.
  • Gina Rodríguez-Drix, Providence, RI – American Express Emerging Leaders Award, which recognizes visionary leadership by an individual who is a new and/or young arts leader who demonstrates an ability to engage and impact their community.

“These tremendous leaders have distinguished themselves as passionate advocates for the arts and arts education,” said Robert L. Lynch, president and CEO of Americans for the Arts. “They have implemented innovative and transformative programs to strengthen the communities they serve and build recognition for the important work of the arts. Their unwavering commitment to local, state, and national support for the arts is deserving of this recognition.”

Americans for the Arts’ Annual Convention and Public Art & Civic Design Conference bring together arts and community leaders to network and discuss strategies for building stronger towns, counties, and cities through the arts. What started as a small group of 45 people in 1955 has now grown to more than 1,000 each year and continues to grow 10-15 percent annually.

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 60 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

About Fund for the Arts

Fund for the Arts is a regional nonprofit with the mission to maximize the impact of the arts on economic development, education, and quality of life in our community. The Fund is a convener, promoter, leader, and driver of Imagine Greater Louisville 2020, the region’s arts & cultural plan. It facilitates the largest arts grant program in Kentucky as well as conducts one of the oldest united arts campaigns in the country. Additional information is available at

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