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Melissa Merli: Simon award 


(CU) News-Gazette
July 21, 2013
By Melissa Merli

Illinois Lt. Gov. Sheila Simon has received the 2013 Public Leadership in the Arts Award from Americans for the Arts and the National Lieutenant Governors Association.

"Lt. Gov. Simon is a true champion for the arts in Illinois," Robert L. Lynch, president and CEO of Americans for the Arts, said in a news release. "She is the perfect choice for the Public Leadership in the Arts Award because she believes that the arts are not only a vital economic driver, but also essential to the academic and social development of every child in the state."

Since taking office in January 2011, Simon has advocated for the arts, culture and arts education. In June, she helped launch the Illinois Arts Education Advisory Committee, which is to develop a new state-level policy agenda for increasing arts education access, equity and quality.

Before becoming lieutenant governor, Simon served for five years as a member of the Illinois Arts Council.

"When students have access to arts education, they are more successful in and out of the classroom," she said. "It is important that Illinois leaders work together to stabilize the public pension system, preserve funding for education and allow students to express themselves through art, music, theater and other programs."

She's also a musician and artist who sings and plays the banjo and bassoon with Loose Gravel, a blues and boogie band with traces of folk, rock, country and funk, with vocal harmonies. It formed in 1998.