2022 NASAA Leadership Awards: Distinguished Public Service Award

Cyndy Andrus

Former Chair, Montana Arts Council

The National Assembly of State Arts Agencies (NASAA) has named Cyndy Andrus, former chair of the Montana Arts Council, the recipient of its 2022 Distinguished Public Service Award. The award honors volunteer leaders of the state arts agency field whose outstanding service, creative thinking and leadership significantly impact public support for the arts in their state and across the country. The award will be presented on September 24 during NASAA Assembly 2022 in Kansas City, Missouri.

Cyndy Andrus has lived and worked in Bozeman, Montana, for nearly 30 years. She is a member of the Bozeman City Commission, serving her second term as mayor. She is one of only four women to serve in that position, and in 2018 received the Bozeman Business and Professional Women’s Woman of Achievement Award. She has served on the city commission since 2010 and was the driving force behind the 1% for the Arts ordinance in Bozeman, requiring one percent of eligible construction costs of City Capital Improvement projects over $1 million to be allocated for public art.

Before moving to Bozeman, Andrus worked as an interpretive naturalist ranger in Yellowstone National Park and as a ranger on the Alagnak Wild River and in Alaska. Some of her duties in Yellowstone included presenting an evening program on the trumpeter swan (including an eight-foot tall swan costume made from chicken wire and bedsheets) and leading hikes through various parts of the park while monitoring people and the occasional bear. In Alaska, her duties included watching the evening program of the bears trying to tip over the outhouse near her cabin and the continual monitoring of giant brown bears and the occasional person.

Andrus is an active community member and an ardent supporter of the arts; she has worked in the tourism industry for more than 25 years. She was a governor’s appointee to the Montana Tourism Advisory Council, serving 10 years, including two years as chair.

Andrus is the former chair of the Montana Arts Council, serving three governors for 18 years. She is a board trustee of WESTAF (Western States Arts Federation) and a former NASAA and National League of Cities board member.

When she is not volunteering or performing her official duties, you can find her exploring the backroads of Montana with her husband in their 1982 Volkswagen camper van, attending the Red Ants Pants Music Festival, or sharing with her siblings the management duties of her family’s beer garden at the Minnesota State Fair (chocolate chip cookie beer, anyone?).

Andrus is married to Brady Wiseman (former Montana legislator) and has a lifelong passion for travel, culture and the culinary arts. She loves football (go Gophers, Vikings and Bobcats!), black licorice and the occasional sipping of a single malt (Speyside).

“A dedicated public servant, Cyndy Andrus is thoughtful, forward-thinking and innovative in her many roles,” said NASAA President and CEO Pam Breaux. “She’s guided by a strong sense of community and has a real passion for the arts and the many ways they enhance and deepen civic life. Wherever she serves, at every level, she brings a positive attitude, a sense of possibility, strategic focus and a truly impressive ability to work with others to achieve the goals at hand. I can think of no one more deserving than Cyndy to receive this award based on her decades of service to the arts, to Montana and to NASAA.”

Previous Distinguished Public Service Award Recipients

2020 Nola Ruth, Missouri
2018 Molly Leach Pratt, Tennessee
2016 Bruce Richardson, Wyoming
2014 Bobby Kadis, North Carolina
2012 Dorothy Pierce McSweeny, District of Columbia
2010 Lucius (Lu) Ellsworth, Virginia
2008 Margaret “Peggy” Kannenstine, Vermont
2007 David “White Thunder” Trottier, North Dakota
2006 Delores C. Fery, Idaho
2005 Margaret “Tog” Newman, North Carolina
2004 William Davis, West Virginia
2003 Judith Ann Rapanos, Michigan
2002 Dr. Oscar E. Remick, Michigan, Pennsylvania & New York
2001 Barbara S. Robinson, Ohio
2000 Carol Brown, Pennsylvania

2022 Leadership Awards Task Force

CHAIR: Carla Du Pree, Former Vice Chair, Maryland
Mary Bordeaux, Chair, South Dakota
Victoria Panella Bourns, Director, Utah
Chris Cathers, Executive Director, Kentucky
Stephanie Conner, Chair, Tennessee
Gary Gibbs, Executive Director, Texas
Abigail Gómez, Former Chair, Virginia
Peter Jasso, Former Director, Kansas
Adriane Jefferson, Council Member, Connecticut
Nola Ruth, Council Member, Missouri
Allison Tratner, Executive Director, New Jersey
George Tzougros, Executive Director, Wisconsin
Bhavna Vasudeva, Council Member, South Carolina