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Robert L. Lynch
President and CEO, Americans for the Arts

Robert Lynch is the president and CEO of Americans for the Arts, the national organization dedicated to advancing the arts and arts education in people's lives, schools and communities. He was Executive Director of the National Assembly of Local Arts Agencies for 12 years, and managed the successful merger of that organization with the American Council for the Arts to form Americans for the Arts in 1996. Mr. Lynch subsequently oversaw the mergers of the Arts and Business Council, Inc. and the Business Committee for the Arts into Americans for the Arts. He also created the Americans for the Arts Action Fund and its connected political action to establish arts-friendly public policy through engaging citizens to advocate for the arts and arts education. Under his 30 years of leadership, the services and membership of Americans for the Arts has grown to more than 50 times its original size in 1985. Mr. Lynch has personally reached audiences in over 2,000 locations spanning all 50 states, more than a dozen nations, and ranging from Native American tribal gatherings to the U.S. Armed Forces in Europe to the President of the United States. He earned a bachelor’s degree in English from the University of Massachusetts-Amherst, and plays the piano, mandolin, and guitar. He lives in Washington, DC.

Entries by Robert L. Lynch

The Passion of Arts Advocates Driving Change: Kennedy, U.S. Lawmakers, and You

(0) Comments | Posted March 30, 2016 | 10:21 AM

Earlier this month I was in Cambridge, Massachusetts, giving a lecture on arts and public policy at the Harvard Kennedy School's Institute of Policy. In lieu of standard hotel accommodations, I was offered the chance to stay in John F. Kennedy's senior year suite in Winthrop House--and of course I...

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Five Macro Trends That Arts Organizations Need to Watch

(0) Comments | Posted February 17, 2016 | 12:24 PM

2016 is off and running, and guaranteed to be a dynamic presidential election year. Along with a new administration in Washington, five broad cultural and economic trends are sure to impact sectors across America--affecting our work in the arts in the coming years. Candidates at all levels of government will...

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The Arts Help Us Find Comfort, Peace, and Unity

(0) Comments | Posted December 29, 2015 | 4:12 PM

2015 is almost over, and what a year of successes and changes we've had as a country. The unemployment rate dropped to its lowest level in more than seven years; the Supreme Court ruled in favor of same-sex marriage nationwide; a landmark climate change agreement was approved; the U.S. embassy...

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Through the Power of Their Creativity, Our Veterans Continue to Serve

(0) Comments | Posted November 9, 2015 | 10:52 AM

During a recent trip to Denver to join in presenting a national award for state arts leadership to Governor Hickenlooper, Deborah Jordy, Executive Director of the Colorado Business Committee for the Arts, approached me. "There is someone I'd really like you to meet." Curtis Bean was his name.

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Powerful and Surprising Arts and Business Partnerships: Enriching Workplaces and Communities Nationwide

(0) Comments | Posted October 16, 2015 | 4:38 PM

Imagine that you are arriving to a job interview at a tech company. As you wait, you take a look around you, and notice beautiful, thought-provoking works of art displayed on the walls, plus sculptures in the public and outdoor spaces. Imagine working for a manufacturing firm, when one day...

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Join Me in Celebrating National Arts in Education Week!

(0) Comments | Posted September 14, 2015 | 12:06 PM

Throughout my 30 years at Americans for the Arts, I have seen first-hand the profound impact that the arts have on children's lives. Just the other evening, a YoungArts alumna, singer/bassist Kate Davis, performed before a crowd of national policy leaders, senators, members of Congress, and famous artists, for an...

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On Vacation? Rise and Shine -- Explore the Arts All Around You!

(0) Comments | Posted August 31, 2015 | 5:12 PM

It's almost Labor Day and in my family, growing up, that meant vacation. It was always the time for travel and discovering new places, which of course is now an activity we call tourism. It is still the time I choose for getting away and as I write this, I...

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The "Graying" of America: An Opportunity to Add Color and Artistic Expression

(1) Comments | Posted July 15, 2015 | 5:59 PM

A "first" for my mother came just days shy of her most recent significant birthday -- the exact number for which she does not want to see printed here. As I helped to set up her first major art gallery exhibit in Falmouth, Massachusetts, I marveled at how full of...

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Arts Action Heroes to the Rescue!

(0) Comments | Posted June 23, 2015 | 3:49 PM

During my 30 years at Americans for the Arts, I have had the great privilege to visit and learn about a different community nearly every week. While they differ vastly from one another, there is one common strength I have observed: the arts have made a profound impact on the...

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Chicagoland's Arts and Culture Brings the Vibrancy -- and Money, Too!

(0) Comments | Posted June 12, 2015 | 12:01 PM

This article has been co-written with Michelle T. Boone, Commissioner with the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events.

Deplaning at Chicago's O'Hare, it's easy to daydream of the world-famous art that awaits: the gleaming, 100-ton stainless steel Cloud Gate, Grant Woods' iconic American Gothic, historic architecture and the...

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The Arts and Arts Education Are Part of the Solution

(0) Comments | Posted May 5, 2015 | 3:07 PM

We are in a springtime of mixed messages in America. Some graduation ceremonies feature stories of great opportunity by commencement speakers, while others are solemn events where graduating seniors are simply processed out the door toward an uncertain future. Clearly, some systems and communities are doing a better job of...

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Advocating for the Arts? Tell a Story

(0) Comments | Posted April 17, 2015 | 1:45 PM

As I reflect on the recent National Arts Advocacy Day and the several hundred visits to the offices of our Congressional representatives and senators that took place, I can think of hundreds of stories to tell. Each of the nearly 550 arts advocates from all fifty states, members of Congress,...

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Veterans, Healing and the Arts

(0) Comments | Posted November 11, 2014 | 12:38 PM

Today is Veterans Day, a time when our nation reflects on the contribution, sacrifice and legacy of our military service members and their families. For many of us, these reflections can turn deeply personal. I'm thinking of my father, who served overseas as a young private in World War II...

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Arts Education Transforms Societies

(1) Comments | Posted October 26, 2014 | 10:45 PM

Do you enjoy the sleek look of your new iPhone? You can thank Steve Jobs for taking a calligraphy class at Reed College. Have you or your kids scribbled on a pair of Vans sneakers? Vans' President Kevin Bailey credits the brand's creativity with the arts education many of his...

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#ShowYourArt in October

(0) Comments | Posted October 1, 2014 | 6:14 PM

October is National Arts & Humanities Month, the month to #ShowYourArt, meet up for Creative Conversations, and celebrate the role the arts and humanities have in shaping and improving our communities. Join thousands of people across the country this month to enjoy an art exhibit, see a show, read a...

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Public Art: More Than a Background for Selfies

(3) Comments | Posted September 16, 2014 | 8:58 PM

During the busy summer travel months, your Facebook feeds and shared slideshows are likely filled with photos of friends on vacation. Odds are those photos included public art: faces reflected in Chicago's "Cloud Gate" (affectionately known as "The Bean") by Anish Kapoor, beautiful nighttime shots of a Leo Villareal's "Bay...

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Winning Our Independence Required Vision and Muscle -- With a Hearty Helping of Art

(0) Comments | Posted July 3, 2014 | 2:00 PM

This weekend, people across the country will celebrate the founding of our nation with family, food, fireworks, and music, grateful we live in a country that embraces the freedoms articulated in our Declaration of Independence -- the unalienable Rights to Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness. We will honor,...

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Arts Advocacy Wave Hits Washington

(0) Comments | Posted April 30, 2014 | 4:18 PM

It's nearly impossible to have a conversation about the federal budget these days without the words "deficit," "debt," or "reduction" entering into the mix. In the times we live in, a willingness to cut funding is sometimes deemed courageous or bold, and success is measured by how much someone is...

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In Honor of Their Service, the Arts Answer the Call

(3) Comments | Posted November 11, 2013 | 8:28 AM

Co-authored by Ret. Brigadier General Nolen Bivens, U.S. Army

It was supposed to be the war to end all wars. In the early 20th century, World War I ravaged the globe, resulting in more than 37 million casualties. It remains the fifth-deadliest conflict in world history. But it didn't...

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Celebrating the Arts Across All Sectors

(0) Comments | Posted October 2, 2013 | 12:04 PM

October is National Arts and Humanities Month. All across the country arts organizations and municipalities and states take the time to recognize the special efforts of civic leaders, philanthropists and arts organizations in making better, stronger, more vibrant communities. I celebrated already by enjoying a virtual festival of...

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