National Assembly of State Arts Agencies Honors Lu Ellsworth with 2010 Distinguished Public Service Award

Washington, D.C. — The National Assembly of State Arts Agencies (NASAA) has named Dr. Lucius F. Ellsworth, former chair, Virginia Commission for the Arts, the recipient of its 2010 Distinguished Public Service Award.

Presented on October 15 during Assembly 2010, NASAA’s annual conference in Austin, Texas, the award honors an individual volunteer leader whose outstanding service, creative thinking and leadership have had a significant impact on public support for the arts in his or her state and across the country.

Ellsworth was appointed to the Virginia Commission for the Arts in 2001 and served as chair from 2003–2009, and has been passionate about ensuring that all Virginians have access to high-quality arts experiences throughout their lives. Under his leadership, the Commission reached its largest state appropriation in history. He helped the Commission maintain bipartisan support with policymakers, establish the Virginia Heritage Awards, and create MINDS WIDE OPEN: Virginia Celebrates Women in the Arts, an initiative to demonstrate the breadth and diversity of the arts across the state.

A tireless arts advocate, Ellsworth has served on the board of Virginians for the Arts for almost 20 years, including two as president. He holds leadership positions with the Southwest Virginia Cultural Heritage Commission, Symphony of the Mountains, Pro-Art, Inc., Community Arts Council of Buchanan County and Virginians for the Arts Foundation.

As a member of NASAA’s Executive Committee, Ellsworth worked to significantly increase National Endowment for the Arts funding to the arts nationwide and to NASAA. He served six years on the NASAA board and four years on its Executive Committee, and remains active on numerous NASAA committees and task forces. Ellsworth is a champion of chairs and council members and has helped NASAA engage this group in national issues.

A historian, Ellsworth lives in the heart of Appalachia in Wise, Virginia, with his wife, Phyllis Hatcher. He has been a college professor and administrator and is the retired president of the Appalachian School of Law. In addition to his volunteer work in the arts, Ellsworth is active in the Methodist Church and in Hospice of Virginia.

In announcing the award, NASAA Chief Executive Officer Jonathan Katz said, “Lu Ellsworth’s state arts agency friends and colleagues greatly appreciate his leadership. Lu’s sustained and exemplary commitment to public service on behalf of the arts at the local, state and national level broadens the reach of the arts to the public. He is a natural choice for this distinguished honor.”

The National Assembly of State Arts Agencies is the membership organization of the nation’s state and jurisdictional arts agencies. The public sector plays a unique and essential role in ensuring that the benefits of the arts accrue to all American communities. State arts agencies broaden citizen access to the arts in every corner of the country, making the cultural, civic, educational and economic benefits of the arts an essential ingredient of state policy and practice.

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