In Tuesday’s (5/19) New York Times, Rachel L. Swarns writes, “The first lady, Michelle Obama, visited New York City on Monday to promote the arts, celebrating opening night at the American Ballet Theater and the reopening of part of the American Wing of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Mrs. Obama described the nation’s creative spirit as critical to its ideals and its identity, and said the arts needed to be nurtured even during difficult economic times. … The first lady seized her moment in the limelight on the grand stage of the Metropolitan Opera House to call on institutions and philanthropists to make the art world readily accessible to children. She praised the Metropolitan Museum and the American Ballet Theater for involving children of diverse backgrounds in their programs. ‘My husband and I believe strongly that arts education is essential for building innovative thinkers who will be our nation’s leaders of tomorrow,’ said Mrs. Obama, who introduced a performance by a multiracial cast of young dancers. … ‘The president and I want to ensure that all children have access to great works of art,’ said Mrs. Obama, who spoke to an audience at the museum that included dozens of public schoolchildren. ‘This is your place, too,’ she told the children.”

Photo: Xinhua/Reuters

Posted May 19, 2009