Michelle Obama and the arts

May 19, 2009
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Not content with just catching a show at the Kennedy Center, first lady Michelle Obama made a clear statement with this week's trip to New York: She sees value in the arts and is interested in promoting them.

And not just mass appeal arts. On Monday, she attended opening night at the American Ballet Theatre and the reopening of the Metropolitan Museum of Art's Amercan Wing.

“My husband and I believe strongly that arts education is essential for building innovative thinkers who will be our nation’s leaders of tomorrow,” Michelle Obama is quoted as saying. (See full New York Times story here.)

So what does it mean to have an arts advocate or two in the White House? How do you expect their advocacy to impact life here in the Heartland?

And if Michelle Obama were to visit here for one arts event, what would you show her?

Your thoughts?
  • I would show her the Asante Children's Theatre in performance at the Walker Theatre Center. Then I would show her the new Central Library, which may not be the arts, but certainly is masterful architecture.
  • I agree with the LA Times on the subject: Yawn.


    Michelle Obama, Laura Bush, whoever; all first ladies are cheerful enthusiasts of culture. That's most of their job and they don't do much more. Yawn.
  • E.E.,
    This doesn't sound like any other First Lady I remember:

    Our future as an innovative country depends on ensuring that everyone has access to the arts and to cultural opportunity. Nearly 6 million people make their living in the non-profit arts industry, and arts and cultural activities contribute more than $160 billion to our economy every year. And trust me, I tried to do my part to add to that number.

    The President included an additional $50 million in funding to the NEA in the stimulus package to preserve jobs in state arts agencies and regional arts organizations in order to keep them up and running during the economic downturn.

    But the intersection of creativity and commerce is about more than economic stimulus, it’s also about who we are as people. The President and I want to ensure that all children have access to great works of art at museums like the one here. We want them to have access to great poets and musicians in theaters around the country, to arts education in their schools and community workshops.

    Read full text of her speech here. [http://www.whitehouse.gov/the_press_office/Remarks-by-the-First-Lady-at-the-Ribbon-Cutting-Ceremony-at-the-Metropolitan-Museum-of-Art-American-Wing/]

  • It's called politics. Nothing more.
  • If Mrs. Obama wants to make the arts her cause, good for her. Hopefully she will still have time to be concerned about education, health care and other important causes.
  • Lou,

    I think the odd thing about your entry above was the statement She sees value in the arts and is interested in promoting them as if she's the first and only to do so. I'm not how many first ladies you've paid attention to, but they all have done the same over the years, and they are all very active and usually very focused in supporting their particular causes. Check out any Wikipedia entry for any first lady in the last 30 years.

    And what exactly does she mean by And trust me, I tried to do my part to add to that number mean, anyway?
  • I agree that it's purely political. If Mrs. Obama had cited examples of her involvement with promoting the arts prior to her husband's election, I might feel otherwise. She's associating with the Kennedy's to further the political agenda.
  • This week's statements from the First Lady, combined with, among other things, the administration's boost to the NEA, the first inauguration poem since Clinton (as lame as it was), and the dedication to bringing arts into the White House (http://www.cbsnews.com/blogs/2009/05/12/politics/politicalhotsheet/entry5009017.shtml) feels like a change to me.

  • I guess we'll have to agree to disagree...

    On another note, I just noticed that the Bloomington Early Music Festival (http://www.blemf.org/festival.html) is showing the 1922film Robin Hood on Sunday, accompanied by Hesperus. I've seen the Alloy Orchestra accompany silent films at the Telluride Film Festival, and it was an unexpectedly delightful experience every time. If I were in Indianapolis this weekend, I'd definitely be driving down to Bloomington to see (and hear) it.
  • E.E.
    Good find with Robin Hood.
    FYI: As I mentioned earlier, the Indianapolis Chamber Orchestra will be providing live music for Harold Lloyd's Safety Last this season.

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  1. I think the poster was being sarcastic and only posting or making fun of what is usually posted on here about anything being built in BR or d'town for that matter.

  2. Great news IRL fans: TURBO the IMS sanctioned movie about slugs running the Indy 500 has caught the Securities and Exchange Commission because Dreamworks had to take a $132MILLION write down...because the movie was such a flop. See, the Indy/IMS magic soiled another pair of drawers. Bwahahahahahaha! How's CARTOWN doing? HAHAHAHA...Indy is for losers.

  3. So disappointed in WIBC. This is the last straw to lose a good local morning program. I used to be able to rely on WIBC to give me good local information, news, weather and traffic on my 45 minute commute.Two incidents when I needed local, accurate information regarding severe weather were the first signs I could not now rely on WIBC. I work weekend 12 hour nights for a downtown hospital. This past winter when we had the worst snowfall in my 50 years of life, I came home on a Sunday morning, went to sleep (because I was to go back in Sunday night for another 12 hour shift), and woke up around 1 p.m. to a house with no electricity. I keep an old battery powered radio around and turned on WIBC to see what was going on with the winter storm and the roads and the power outage. Sigh. Only policital stuff. Not even a break in to update on the winter storm warning. The second weather incident occurred when I was driving home during a severe thunderstorm a few months ago. I had already gotten a call from my husband that a tornado warning was just southwest of where I had been. I turned to WIBC to find out what direction the storm was headed so I could figure out a route home, only to find Rush on the air, and again, no breaking away from this stupidity to give me information. Thank God for my phone, which gave me the warning that I was driving in an area where a tornado was seen. Thanks for nothing WIBC. Good luck to you, Steve! We need more of you and not the politics of hatred that WIBC wants to shove at us. Good thing I have Satellite radio.

  4. I read the retail roundup article and tried Burritos and Beers tonight. I'm glad I did, for the food was great. Fresh authentic Mexican food. Great seasoning on the carne asada. A must try!!! Thanks for sharing.

  5. John, unfortunately CTRWD wants to put the tank(s) right next to a nature preserve and at the southern entrance to Carmel off of Keystone. Not exactly the kind of message you want to send to residents and visitors (come see our tanks as you enter our city and we build stuff in nature preserves...