In partnership with the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL), Americans for the Arts is pleased to present Virginia Speaker of the House Designee Eileen Filler-Corn (D-Fairfax County) with the Public Leadership in the Arts Award for State Arts Leadership. The award recognizes a state legislator who has consistently advocated for the advancement of pro-arts legislation, funding, and promotion in their region. The ceremony took place this afternoon at the NCSL Capitol Forum in Phoenix, Arizona.
Speaker-Designee Filler-Corn has been a champion for the arts for well over a decade, predating her election to the Virginia House of Delegates, when she was a private resident of Fairfax County, Virginia, and in her time of service in the Kaine and Warner Administrations. As a member of the Virginia House of Delegates since 2010, she has used her voice to educate and advocate for the powerful role of the arts, particularly as she established the state’s first Arts Caucus in 2011, with then colleague Del. Barbara Comstock. Even as Speaker-Designee Filler-Corn gave up her leadership of the Caucus to become the state’s first female leader of the House Democratic Caucus, she carefully and purposely identified a colleague to accept leadership in January 2019. Still, Speaker-Designee Filler-Corn advocates for and supports the valuable role of the arts in Fairfax County and across the Commonwealth of Virginia. She currently sits on the board of directors for ARTSFAIRFAX, the local arts agency. She was an advocate and proponent of a $250,000 increase for the Virginia Commission for the Arts (VCA) two years ago and for an additional $125,000 this year. Further, she remains committed to helping the VCA achieve their goal of $1 per capita in funding, or around an additional $4.2 million.
“From her unwavering support for additional funding for the Virginia Commission for the Arts, to her service on Arts Fairfax’s Board of Directions, to co-founding and chairing the Virginia House Arts Caucus, Speaker-Designee Filler-Corn embodies the essence of what this national award stands for. Her leadership, dedication, and support of the arts has positively impacted the lives of residents, and I applaud her for her commitment and the results she has achieved. She is a leader very much worthy of this recognition,” said Robert L. Lynch, president and CEO of Americans for the Arts.
“Speaker-Designee Filler-Corn has been a stalwart supporter of the arts since the beginning of her career in public service, recognizing the powerful role the arts play in communities – not only in the intrinsic value of a performance or exhibition, but the larger role that the arts play in the health and vitality of the community. Her approach to working across the aisle has made her an invaluable ally and advocate for the arts, and we are seeing the benefits of an increased, perceived value for the arts. We are so grateful for her leadership,” commented Janet Starke, Executive Director of the Virginia Commission for the Arts.
Tim Storey, NCSL Executive Director said, “Speaker-Designee Filler-Corn is a strong advocate for the arts in her community and across the Commonwealth of Virginia; she has used her voice in the legislature to educate and advocate for the powerful role of the arts. We congratulate our friend and soon to be Speaker of the House on this very deserving award.”
“In my life and for people across the Commonwealth, art stimulates thought about society, represents our interconnectedness and helps us understand other cultures in – and outside – of our communities,” said Speaker-Designee Filler-Corn. “In government, we play an important role in facilitating and funding the arts, ensuring its accessibility for all Virginians. In exchange, art contributes billions to our economy, directly and indirectly.”
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.
National Conference of State Legislatures is a bipartisan organization that serves the legislators and staffs of the states, commonwealths, and territories. It provides research, technical assistance, and opportunities for policymakers to exchange ideas on the most pressing state issues and is an effective and respected advocate for the interests of the states in the American federal system.