The Educational Theatre Association has chosen Representative Elise Stefanik, serving New York state's 21st district, as the recipient of the 2019 Legislator Leadership Award for Arts Education. The annual honor recognizes a state or national legislator who demonstrates public leadership in support of theatre or other arts education policy and practice.
Among Rep. Stefanik's arts education leadership accomplishments being recognized are her service as co-chairs of both the Congressional STEAM Caucus and Congressional Arts Caucus. Rep. Stefanik is also a member of the House Committee on Education and the Workforce, where she was part of a successful effort to change STEM to STEAM (newly incorporating arts and design in addition to science, technology, engineering, and math) in the Department of Education's guidelines for grants serving K–12 education.
“The arts were a very important part of my childhood, my education, and my life," shares Rep. Stefanik, "and I take my personal passion with me as an advocate for arts education.”
Rep. Stefanik's district is in the Adirondack area of New York state, north of Albany and extending to the Canadian border. Stefanik believes that arts are vital to rural communities. “I am a strong believer in the importance of the arts to the economic health of communities and the economy overall when we make an investment in the arts,” she says.
The award was presented by EdTA Executive Director Julie Cohen Theobald.
“Rep. Stefanik is an example of a legislator who is a stalwart advocate for the humanities, arts, and theatre education, and her leadership and influence on policy at the federal level is of vital importance,” says Theobald. “We are thrilled and honored to present this award to her.”