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February 06, 2017

Contact: Gregory Liakos, Communications Director, 617-858-2720

Robert Lynch, President and CEO of Americans for the Arts, is the first recipient of the JFK Commonwealth Award,
the Massachusetts Cultural Council and the John F. Kennedy Library Foundation announced today

(Boston, MA) - A Stoughton, Massachusetts native, Lynch is one of the nation’s leading arts advocates who has recently been on the front lines of efforts to protect the National Endowment for the Arts and other federal cultural agencies amid rapidly shifting political conditions. His long career as an arts leader, champion, and ambassador make him the ideal inaugural recipient of the JFK Commonwealth Award, said Anita Walker, Mass Cultural Council Executive Director.

“Very few Americans can speak as authentically, knowledgably, and passionately about the myriad public benefits of the arts and culture as Bob Lynch,” said Walker. “As we work to preserve our cultural legacy for future generations, it’s important to honor those who fight to maintain and build upon President Kennedy’s commitment to the arts and humanities and their vital role in our democracy.”

Stephen Kennedy Smith will present the Award as part of the 2017 Commonwealth Awards ceremony at the Massachusetts State House on Wednesday, February 15. Stephen K. Smith is a member of the Board of the JFK Library Foundation and a nephew of President Kennedy. The Award is part of a year-long commemoration of Kennedy’s contribution to the arts and humanities. It coincides with the 50th anniversary of the Mass Cultural Council, which along with the National Endowments for the Arts and Humanities, remain lasting legacies of President Kennedy’s vision for the cultural life of our nation.

“The arts, artists, and cultural institutions cannot thrive without champions who tell their story to the wider world,” said Steven M. Rothstein, Executive Director, John F. Kennedy Library Foundation. “President Kennedy knew this well, and used the bully pulpit of the presidency to celebrate the unique power of the arts and humanities. So it is appropriate that our first JFK Commonwealth Award recipient is someone who has embodied that role for our generation.”

Lynch is a graduate of Boston College High School and the University of Massachusetts Amherst. He still has a home in Mashpee, Massachusetts, on Cape Cod.

Learn more about Bob Lynch and his accomplishments at Americans for the Arts.

Details on the 2017 Commonwealth Awards ceremony and this year’s recipients can be found at massculturalcouncil.org.

About the Mass Cultural Council

The Mass Cultural Council is a state agency supporting the arts, sciences, and humanities, to improve the quality of life in Massachusetts and its communities. It pursues its mission through a combination of grants, services, and advocacy for nonprofit cultural organizations, schools, communities, and artists. The Mass Cultural Council's total budget for this fiscal year is $16.1 million, which includes a $14 million state appropriation and grants from the National Endowment for the Arts. The Mass Cultural Council also runs the Massachusetts Cultural Facilities Fund in partnership with MassDevelopment.


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