As part of the U.S. Conference of Mayors 91st Winter Meeting in Washington, DC on Friday, January 20, 2023, American for the Arts and the United States Conference of Mayors presented three elected officials with Public Leadership in the Arts Awards and two artists with Legendary Artist Awards.
The honorees include the following:
A National Award for State Arts Leadership was presented to Dan McKee, Governor of Rhode Island;
In the category of cities with a population over 100,000, Oklahoma City’s Mayor David Holt received the National Award for Local Arts Leadership;
A National Arts Leadership Award for cities with fewer than 100,000 residents was presented to New Bedford, Massachusetts, Mayor Jon Mitchell;
Rap pioneer Louis “Eric B” Barrier and hip-hop DJ Kool DJ Red Alert received Legendary Artist Awards. Individuals and groups who have consistently advocated for arts and culture in the United States and/or supported arts education are recognized with the award.
“The leadership of Governor McKee, Mayor Holt, and Mayor Mitchell should be an inspiration to all those serving in public office. They believe that the arts connect people and drive civic engagement, and their unparalleled commitment to supporting arts programs exemplifies how investment in the arts translates into community growth, economic prosperity, and increased cultural funding,” said Nolen V. Bivens, president and CEO of Americans for the Arts.
“We are also proud to recognize Eric B and Kool DJ Red Alert, who have contributed enormously to America’s artistic and cultural legacy, and whose achievements have no doubt helped change the future of the arts in America for the better.”
“The U.S. Conference of Mayors is pleased to recognize the exemplary work of Mayor Holt, Mayor Mitchell, Governor McKee as they use the arts and culture to not only promote their city/state, but to grow their economies,” remarked Tom Cochran, CEO and Executive Director of The U.S. Conference of Mayors. “Mayors understand the inherent value of the arts to bring people together, promote cultural understanding, and make cities safer places to live, work and play.”“It’s a blessing that my success as an artist has provided me a platform in the public eye to achieve greater good. Across all generations, Entertainment and The Arts are foundational elements in human communication, emotional connection and shared experience, the importance of which can be overstated.”
Louis “Eric B” Barrier is a Rock & Roll Hall of Fame nominated record producer, DJ, actor, entrepreneur, and community activist. Born in Queens NY, he first rose to fame as one half of the iconic Hip-Hop duo Eric B and Rakim who, over the release of 4 full length albums and multiple collaborative projects, transformed the musical genre into the complex sample and lyrical driven form that persists today. His debut, Paid In Full¸ is often referred to as the Greatest Hip-Hop Album of All-Time and Rolling Stone Magazine listed them as a Top 5 Duo in all of recorded music. Expanding his talents into executive roles, Eric has worked across the spectrum of the entertainment industry including in-house for BMG’s Street Life Records and CBS Radio, as a consulting producer to The Source Awards and his current position on the Board of the Universal Hip-Hop Museum in New York City. His entrepreneurial spirit has seen him collaborate and co-own over 100 restaurants across the nation along with interests in real estate companies, tech startups and a management advisory firm he runs alongside his children.
In 1995, Eric caught the acting bug and had successfully appeared in numerous film and television projects culminating in his current 3 season and counting run as Lt. Mike Gee on CBS’s Blue Bloods. When not acting or performing on stage, he remains forever active within his community serving as an honorary Deputy Sheriff, Federal Gang Outreach Coordinator, advisor and fundraiser to numerous political groups and candidates, project manager for the First Baptist Church of Elmhurst and as an official Chaplain with the State of New York Chaplain Federation.