The NASAA Leadership Awards showcase best practices of state arts agencies and regional arts organizations, recognize exemplary leadership, and demonstrate how government creatively, effectively and efficiently serves the public through the arts.
The Gary Young Award recognizes an executive director who has made an extraordinary contribution to public support for the arts at the state, regional and national levels.
Randall Rosenbaum is executive director of the Rhode Island State Council on the Arts (RISCA). During his past 21 years in Rhode Island, Rosenbaum has had a significant effect on the arts and its role in life in the state. He has seen to it that the work of Rhode Island artists is present in state government’s relationship to its people, from seeing that original works of art are included as part of state budget documents to arranging for works to be on display throughout the public and private office spaces of Rhode Island’s general officers through a loan program established several years ago. In all of this, Rosenbaum has focused on ways that the arts and RISCA can be considered close partners and collaborators in the work of the public sector, and supporters and advocates of the work being done by artists in communities throughout the state.
Rosenbaum established a gallery in the state’s main administration building that has become a central focus of his state’s celebration of diverse cultures—as well as the site of annual shows featuring work by artists with disabilities and incarcerated prisoners, after-school art programs, and a very popular state employees art show. Under Rosenbaum’s leadership, RISCA has developed partnerships with a number of state agencies, including the departments of Health, Environmental Management, State, Education, Tourism, Film and TV, Elderly Affairs, Veterans Affairs, and Transportation as well as the Commission on Disabilities and the Commission on the Deaf and Hard of Hearing. Over the past several years, Rosenbaum has developed and promoted several programs that will have lasting benefit to his state, including a sales tax exemption for the sale of art in Rhode Island, a $30 million bond initiative to support improvements to the state’s cultural infrastructure, and the development of the Rhode Island Arts & Culture Research Network, a research consortium organized in cooperation with the state’s independent colleges and universities.
Regionally, Rosenbaum served for 21 years on the board of the New England Foundation for the Arts. He is serving his second term on the board of the National Assembly of State Arts Agencies, where his dedicated service at the national level has included work on the Nominating, Planning & Budget, National Standards Revision and Advocacy committees. An outstanding advocate in support of public support for the arts, Rosenbaum has a strong record of engagement with his congressional delegation.
“NASAA applauds Randy Rosenbaum’s receipt of the Gary Young Award, our field’s highest honor for executive leadership,” said NASAA Chief Executive Officer Pam Breaux. “The productive collaborations he has orchestrated throughout his state, his savvy policy leadership, and his dedication to inclusive programming are testament to his championship of the arts and artists as central to civic well-being.”
The Gary Young Award was established by the New England Foundation for the Arts to honor the memory of a man who made numerous contributions to the state arts council movement in the United States, and to provide recognition to those who carry on his tradition of leadership in this field.
The Distinguished Public Service Award honors a chair or council member whose outstanding service, creative thinking and leadership significantly impact public support for the arts in his/her state and across the country.
Bruce Richardson is former chair of the Wyoming Arts Council. An arts advocate and teacher, Richardson (Ph.D., English, U.C.L.A., 1983) believes that advocacy is something you do all the time, “a way of living meaningfully by practicing and promoting what you value.” Since arriving in Wyoming in 1984, he has advocated for the arts as a board member and chair of the Wyoming Arts Council, board member and officer of the National Assembly of State Arts Agencies, president of the Nicolaysen Art Museum, vice president of ARTCORE, president of the Wyoming Council for the Humanities, advisor to arts organizations and organizer and participant in many arts events.
Richardson was active in successful efforts to increase the budget for the Wyoming Arts Council and to add the arts to a statewide scholarship program. He is currently a board member of The Wyoming Arts Alliance, an arts advocacy organization. Called “Wyoming’s arts ambassador,” Richardson, in 80 essays and some 200 speeches, has detailed the value and extent of the arts in Wyoming and ways to make things better. For these efforts he received the Governor’s Arts Award in 2014 and was named Casper Citizen of the Year in 2015.
Recently retired, Richardson taught for 31 years at the University of Wyoming at Casper. Classes included Shakespeare, Chaucer, horror literature, and living Wyoming writers and artists. In 2015 he received the University of Wyoming’s highest teaching honor, the Ellbogen Lifetime Teaching Award.
“Bruce Richardson’s enthusiastic and steadfast advocacy on behalf of public funding for the arts has advanced the arts in Wyoming and across the nation,” said NASAA Chief Executive Officer Pam Breaux. “His exemplary leadership has broadened support for the arts in the civic, education, business and policy spheres. NASAA is pleased to salute Bruce’s many accomplishments with this award.”