Michael R. Landers

2023 "The Ed Award" Recipient

Michael “Mike” Landers has been selected to receive the inaugural Edward W. Santos Community Service Award. Mike has the commitment to Plymouth and community service that Ed Santos was the hallmark of.

Michael is the founder of Plymouth’s Project Arts, but he is so much more. As a longtime Plymouth resident, his community work has included volunteer time and his expertise for the production of events for the Muscular Dystrophy Association. His work has resulted of thousands of dollars raised for the organization.

Michael has given of his time, resources and expertise by serving on the Plymouth Area Chamber of Commerce Industrial Development, Tourism and Plymouth Summer Festival committees, as well as the Town’s Summer Street Skate Park Committee and the Plymouth Cultural Council. He has also served as a longtime Town Meeting member.

His passion as a community servant has been evident in the founding (in 1995), development and the sustaining of Project Arts of Plymouth. Project Arts is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization whose mission is to promote local arts and entertainment. The organization is funded entirely through the sponsorships provided by local businesses and the support of the community. Landers has led a team that have produced free summer concerts and festivals, including the Bass & Blues Harborfest and the Plymouth Harbor Folk Festival.

Project Arts is an important element of the local arts and cultural community and is a vital element of Plymouth’s visitor industry.

Nominating Testimony

Giving back to the community with passion and commitment is what Mike Landers is all about. He really cares about Plymouth and has always tried his best to make it a better place to live.

He’s done this in so many ways- as a Town Meeting member, serving on the Plymouth Cultural Council and Skate Park Advisory Committee, providing music and sound for the annual Christmas on North Street tree lighting celebration, and, for over 25 years leading Project Arts and the amazing free summer concert series on the waterfront. Mike epitomizes the great spirit embodied in the Ed Santos Memorial Award- always putting the town first, never being afraid to dive in with endless energy to make a remote vision a reality. And most importantly, he has never done any of this for personal material gain.

I met Mike back in the mid 1990’s when Plymouth was still a pretty sleepy town compared to where it is now. We decided that a free music series with a wide variety of rock, pop, folk, bluegrass and singer-songwriters might be a desirable community event. We knew we were on to something when we set out and approached local business owners and the town for funding and our requests were universally met with positive enthusiasm. We secured a location on the waterfront and that’s how Project Arts started.

But Mike wasn’t content with producing just 10 free shows each summer. From there, he insisted we expand by adding a Folk & Blues festival, performance at Jenny Grist Mill and the Independence Mall and Hot August Nights where we closed streets and set up a stage right in the middle of downtown on Friday nights.

The current success of our town, including the many bars and restaurants that have live music, can be traced back to Mike’s efforts.

It has been an honor and privilege to be a part of Mike’s vision and to be his close personal friend. He is a most worthy recipient of this important award.

Lloyd Rosenburg