The Educational Theatre Association will award the first EdTA Legislator Leadership Award for Arts Education to Congressman Leonard Lance, who represents New Jersey’s 7th Congressional District. Congressman Lance, a Republican, will accept the award at the opening luncheon of EdTA’s Summit Advocacy Program in Alexandria, Virginia, on July 20.
The new EdTA award, to be given annually, was created to demonstrate and support the association’s ongoing and growing national and state advocacy efforts on behalf of theatre and other arts education. Legislators will be considered based on specific actions and outcomes that have demonstrated their leadership in support of theatre and other arts education policy and practice on a national or state level.
The launch of the award coincides with the EdTA’s first theatre advocacy day, in which Summit attendees will engage in a day of training before visiting Capitol Hill on Friday, July 21, to meet with their legislators from the Senate and House of Representatives.
“We are thrilled to be honoring Representative Lance with this new EdTA award,” said Executive Director Julie Theobald. “It couldn’t come at a better time, with our first national advocacy day in which EdTA state leaders are coming to Washington to advocate specifically on behalf of theatre education.”
Representative Lance said, through a staff aide, that he was excited and honored to accept the EdTA Legislator Leadership Award for Arts Education. The congressman, who has represented his district since 2008, was chosen for the award because of his strong support for the National Endowment for the Arts and the restoral of wireless microphone access to a geolocation database for performing arts entities — including schools — to ensure protection from other device interference.
As co-chair of the Congressional Arts Caucus, Representative Lance has worked to gather support for continued funding for the NEA, which has been targeted for elimination by the Trump administration, stressing the full range of the agency’s impact on education, jobs, tourism, and other sectors of the economy.
Along with Arts Caucus Co-chair Louise Slaughter, Lance authored a letter to the chair of the Federal Communication Commission in May of this year urging a review of the FCC’s policy regarding wireless microphones, including the limitation to the geo-data by institutions using less than 50 microphones, and to consider adequate transition times for schools and nonprofits to prepare financially for any necessary moves in the white space broadcast spectrum. The letter was signed 10 congressional colleagues.