Americans for the Arts and the National Association of Counties (NACo) announced that Commissioner Randy Maluchnik of Carver County, Minnesota was awarded the Public Leadership in the Arts Award for County Arts Leadership on Sunday at NACo’s annual conference in Columbus, Ohio. The award honors an elected county board or individual leader who has significantly advanced the arts in the communities they serve.
“Commissioner Maluchnik is a dedicated leader with an exemplary record of supporting and embracing the arts in Carver County,” said Robert L. Lynch, president and CEO of Americans for the Arts. “He has recognized the important role that cultural experiences have in strengthening communities. I applaud him for his commitment and leadership very much worthy of this recognition.”
Maluchnik has been a consistent national voice to promote the arts and culture at the county level. He served as chair of the NACo Arts and Culture Commission for five years—a record—and still serves as a vice chair, helping to ingrain arts and culture policy topics into NACo’s overall work. Through his work as chair of the Arts and Culture Commission, NACo members get to experience arts and culture at each of the national conferences through musical performances, military bands, and theatrical performances.
In addition to his national work, Maluchnik has been a champion for the arts locally, to include assisting the Arts Consortium of Carver County and bringing art into the County’s Government Center. He backed an effort to display rural farm art outside of the County Board Room. The effort beautified the area, served as a reminder of the agriculture base in a fast-growing county, and captured historic barns which are quickly disappearing from America’s landscape.
Maluchnik also spearheaded a veterans writing event. He worked with the library and local Veteran Services Office to bring in a speaker to assist veterans with writing about their military experience as a way to document their honored service and also as a therapy to assist veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder and use art as a way to treat community mental health.
“The true value of arts and culture in our communities goes far beyond an aesthetic value but can provide solutions to economic opportunity, mental health, addiction problems, assisting our returning veterans as they reintegrate back to their communities and much, much more. Public officials should use the arts as a solid tool in developing policy that can make our communities a place to live, work, play for a lifetime,” said Maluchnik.
“The arts can be an important part of creating healthy, vibrant and safe counties across the country,” said Mathew Chase, NACo’s executive director. “We applaud Commissioner Maluchnik’s efforts to promote arts and culture in Carver County and nationwide. We’re grateful for his leadership, especially his efforts to improve mental health for veterans.”
Americans for the Arts established the Public Leadership in the Arts Award for County Arts Leadership in 1999 to recognize the positive role county government leaders play in improving arts programs, increasing funding to the arts and making the arts accessible in their communities.
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 55 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 www.AmericansForTheArts.org.