NEA Chairman Landesman Congratulates Design Director
Washington, DC -- National Endowment for the Arts Chairman Rocco Landesman congratulates NEA Design Director Maurice Cox on receiving the Edmund N. Bacon Prize. This annual honor bestowed by the Ed Bacon Foundation is awarded to "an outstanding national figure who has advocated for excellence in urban development, planning and design." Past recipients of the prize include John O. Norquist (2008), president of the Congress for the New Urbanism and former mayor of Milwaukee; Paul Goldberger (2007), Pulitzer Prize-winning architecture critic at The New Yorker; and Robert A.M. Stern (2006), celebrated architect and dean of Yale's school of architecture.
Receipt of this award comes as Mr. Cox prepares to leave the NEA to return to teaching at the University of Virginia-Charlottesville, from which he took a two-year leave in 2007 to join the National Endowment for the Arts.
Chairman Landesman said, "Over the past two years, Maurice Cox has helped to expand the number of grants that the NEA has awarded to the design community. But more importantly, he has raised awareness of the significance of design among public leaders, encouraging them to plan communities that are livable and sustainable. While we will miss having him at the agency, we are thrilled that he will continue this work around the intersection of design and public policy as he returns to the University of Virginia."
During his tenure at the Arts Endowment, Mr. Cox's succeeded in increasing the number of applications and grant awards to the nonprofit design field. From 2007 to 2009, applications and grant awards grew by 31%, from 59 to 77 applications over those two years and from 35 to 46 grant awards.
He was also active with the NEA's Mayors' Institute on City Design (MICD), a 23-year old partnership managed with the American Architectural Foundation and the U.S. Conference of Mayors. Each institute brings together an equal number of design experts and mayors who meet to address the mayors' most pressing urban design challenges. Twelve institutes were convened during Mr. Cox's tenure that involved a total of 75 mayors. In addition, since 2007, ten mayors have participated in a new component of MICD, the MICD Alumni Technical Assistance Program that provides post-institute assistance to alumni mayors.
Mr. Cox also contributed to the launch of the Sustainable Communities Partnership convened by the Governors' Institute on Community Design. The Governors' Institute is managed by the NEA in partnership with the Smart Growth Leadership Institute and the Environmental Protection Agency.
Mr. Cox said, "Directing design at the NEA has been an extraordinary opportunity to serve our country and help build a national constituency for design excellence in the public realm. Through our work, we've made progress in establishing the public necessity of design excellence that is accessible to all."
Tom Cochran, CEO and executive director of the US. Conference of Mayors noted, "Being a former mayor and director of the design program for the National Endowment for the Arts, enabled Maurice to bring a new perspective to the Mayors' Institute on City Design. Everyone associated with the program was enriched by the ideas Maurice shared with them on ways to make our cities more livable places."
Ron Bogle, president of the American Architectural Foundation salutes Mr. Cox "for his national public service as director of design at the NEA and for his outstanding contributions to American cities through his involvement with MICD. As our national dialogue becomes more focused on challenges facing our urban communities, the Mayors' Institute has become even more vital to mayors and the future of our cities."
The National Endowment for the Arts is a public agency dedicated to supporting excellence in the arts, both new and established, bringing the arts to all Americans, and providing leadership in arts education. Established by Congress in 1965 as an independent agency of the federal government, the Arts Endowment is the nation's largest annual funder of the arts, bringing great art to all 50 states, including rural areas, inner cities, and military bases. For more information, please visit www.arts.gov.
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