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By DARLENE SUPERVILLE, Associated Press
PITTSBURGH - Comparing the arts to a form of diplomacy, first lady Michelle Obama on Friday promoted arts education while treating her counterparts to tours of two of this city's leading cultural institutions.
The first stop for Mrs. Obama and the spouses of world leaders attending an economic summit was the Pittsburgh Creative and Performing Arts School, where students major in dance, music, theater and other creative arts.
"We are here because I wanted to introduce them to some of America's finest, most creative, most accomplished young people. I wanted to showcase the value of arts education and you put that on display," Mrs. Obama told hundreds of CAPA students called to the auditorium for a special concert she organized.
Arts education, she said, helps youngsters discover their voices and develop their talents.
"This should be an opportunity that is available for every single child in this nation, and quite frankly around the world," Mrs. Obama said.
She noted the long-standing practice in which world leaders' spouses share the arts.
"We share our music, we share our dance, we share our culture," Mrs. Obama said. "It is a form of diplomacy in which we can all take part."
Students and spouses were treated to a sizzling, half-hour show with performances by cellist Yo-Yo Ma, who was accompanied by a CAPA student studying percussion. Country superstar Trisha Yearwood sang "How Will I Live," and singer-songer writer Sara Bareilles belted out her popular hit "Love Song."
Before the show, the spouses broke into small groups and dropped into classrooms to watch student rehearsals. Mrs. Obama watched as students performed scenes from the play "Porgy & Bess" in one classroom, and heard a female vocalist sing "I Dream a Dream" in another room.
The spouses also posed for a group photo. Mrs. Obama stood in between Margarita Zavala of Mexico and Marisa Leticia da Silva of Brazil.
Spouses also were invited to take a tour and eat lunch at the Andy Warhol Museum.
The seven-story museum houses the art collection and archives of the late 20th century pop artist and Pittsburgh native. The spouses will get a chance to try the silk-screen printing technique Warhol popularized, and peruse items from one of more than 600 cardboard "time-capsule" boxes Warhol used to store his keepsakes.
In one of those boxes, archivists found $17,000 in cash. The big discovery in another box was a piece of crusty cake from Caroline Kennedy's 1986 wedding to Edwin Schlossberg.
On Thursday, Mrs. Obama opened two days of spouse events by sharing her passion for eating locally grown food. She treated the group to dinner at Rosemont Farm, which is owned by Teresa Heinz Kerry, wife of Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass. She also is the widow of Sen. John Heinz, R-Pa., of the Heinz ketchup family.
The working farm grows produce and raises livestock. Salad greens and apples grown there were on the menu for the private dinner on the property located in Fox Chapel, just outside of Pittsburgh.
The women ate at a long, rectangular table with Mrs. Obama seated between the spouses from Brazil and Indonesia, Ani Bambang Yudhoyono. The ladies were joined by Heinz Kerry, White House social secretary Desiree Rogers and Susan Sher, Mrs. Obama's chief of staff.