Rocco Landesman, Chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts, gave a speech on October 21 that kicks off his “Art Works” six-month tour around the United States. In the speech, the keynote address at the national Grantmakers in the Arts Conference in Brooklyn, New York, Landesman spoke about his “Art Works” platform: “The 5.7 million people who have full-time arts-related jobs in this country are part of the real economy…Any discussion of policy for coming out of this recession, any plan that addresses economic growth and urban and neighborhood revitalization has to included the arts. We know, and we can prove, that when you bring art and artists into the center of town, that town changes.” Landesman affirmed his vision of a more visible, pro-active NEA and of the importance of optimism during what he called “the most arts-supportive administration since Roosevelt.” Landesman’s “Art Works” tour begins on November 6 with a visit to Peoria, Illinois, and continues with stops to include St. Louis (November 23) and Nashville (November 30) and states including California, Idaho, Kentucky, and Washington. The NEA will be hosting a blog at where Americans can post examples and stories of how art works in their own communities; Landesman will also post updates on his tour. The entire speech can be read at the NEA website.

Posted October 23, 2009