Billy Taylor's Legacy

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To the Editor:

Re “Billy Taylor, Jazz Pianist, Dies at 89" (obituary, Dec. 30):

The arts world has lost a great friend in Billy Taylor, not just as a brilliant jazz pianist—which he was—but also as an educator, policy adviser and ardent spokesman for the arts.

Some 30 years ago I had the privilege of working with him as we sought to advance the arts and arts education in our nation. He was fervent, gentle, thoughtful and highly effective, whether in the halls of Congress or giving advice to students and emerging arts leaders.

He was an important part of Americans for the Arts for many years, delivering the Nancy Hanks Lecture on Arts and Public Policy in 1998, participating on our Artists Committee since its inception, volunteering generously as an arts advocacy spokesman and serving as the honorary chairman of the Arts and Business Council for more than three decades.

The nation has lost a true arts advocate, and the board and staff of Americans for the Arts deeply mourn his loss.

Robert L. Lynch
President and Chief Executive
Americans for the Arts
Washington, Jan. 3, 2011

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