As I reflect on the recent National Arts Advocacy Day and the several hundred visits to the offices of our Congressional representatives and senators that took place, I can think of hundreds of stories to tell.
Bassist/singer Kate Davis would be a multimillionaire if she had a dollar for every click on her collaboration with the online video project Postmodern Jukebox turning Meghan Trainor's megahit into a genre-bending stride-and-swing.
Do you enjoy the sleek look of your new iPhone? You can thank Steve Jobs for taking a calligraphy class at Reed College. Have you or your kids scribbled on a pair of Vans sneakers? Vans' President Kevin Bailey credits the brand's creativity with the arts education many of his employees have taken.
We try to organize class trips, and bemoan the increasing challenges of getting access to buses, to getting the OK to leave school for an arts experience when the pressures of sticking to curriculum and "teaching to the test" are ever-present.
To be honest, every month is an arts and humanities month, with 100,000 nonprofit arts organizations alone serving all of America. It's just that October is a month to boast a bit about our American arts and humanities treasures.
Our media-saturated society can no longer differentiate between validly earned fame and cheap or destructive notoriety, and it is well-known that susceptible individuals are inspired by the notoriety given mass killers via mass media.
The arts can serve as both a model and catalyst for change for a number of the pressing societal challenges which face our nation. But it will require new ways of thinking and engaging with the opportunities and challenges of a more diverse, technologically-driven and entrepreneurial world.
As we enter into budget season, let us applaud the great elected officials who invest in the power of the arts, and hope that our elected officials realize that they are not "giving" money to the arts, or even just "appropriating."
Let's unite the 10 million people who work in nonprofits and countless millions who volunteer to push for an recovery agenda that utilizes the full array of our country's economic resources. Together, we can help each other.
The point of the arts is obviously not to create jobs; the point is to help us communicate in new ways about what it is like to be human. But isn't it great to know that the arts are also a robust industry hat helps fuel America's economy?
One of the mysteries of the arts is how an artist becomes an artist. We know that very few trained and talented visual artists actually make careers in the arts. Seeing all of this for so long I am encouraged by some positive trends.
Christo and Jean Claude, two immigrant Americans, are showing the nation the vitality of its arts and the creative process in not only enhancing our lives, but also as a tool for economic development and well being.
Paraphrasing the last line of the Declaration of Independence, Shriver said all of us need to "pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor" that the cuts to art education cannot be tolerated.
There are stories that all of us in the arts have: of the arts changing a child's life; humanizing a hospital; and revitalizing a rural or urban downtown. The arts are not part of the problem but part of the solution to America's problems.
The National Endowment for the Arts is as important to this nation -- its spirit, its sense of self -- as any other of our Government departments and agencies. It is long past time that this be recognized.