Friday, August 6, 2010
Arts in America from the July 4, 2010 RA Celebration
In the long history of man, countless empires and nations have come and gone. Those which created no lasting works of art are reduced today to short footnotes in history's catalogue.
Art is a nation's most precious heritage, for it is in our works of art that we reveal to ourselves and to others the inner vision which guides us as a nation. And where there is no vision, the people perish.
This new bill creating the National Foundation for the Arts and Humanities gives us the power to turn some of those dreams and ideas into reality. We would not have this bill but for the hard and thorough and dedicated work of some of our great legislators in both houses of the Congress. These men and women have worked long and hard and effectively to give us this bill.
And now we have it. Let me tell you what we are going to do with it.
Working together with the state and the local governments and with many private organizations in the arts, we will create a national theater to bring ancient and modern classics of the theater to audiences all over America. We will support a national opera company and a national ballet company. We will create an American film institute, bringing together leading artists of the film industry, outstanding educators, and young men and women who wish to pursue the 20th century art form as their life's work.
We will commission new works of music by American composers. We will support our symphony orchestras. We will bring more great artists to our schools and universities by creating grants for their time in residence.
But these actions and others soon to follow cannot alone achieve our goals. To produce true and lasting results, our states and municipalities, our schools and our great private foundations must join forces with us. It is in the neighborhoods of each community that a nation's art is born.
In countless American towns, there live thousands of obscure and unknown talent. What this bill really does is to bring active support to this great national asset, to make fresher the winds of art in this great land of ours.
The arts and the humanities belong to the people, for it is, after all, the people who create them.
Remarks at the signing of the Arts and Humanities Bill, September 29th, 1965.