First lady Michelle Obama spent her second New York City visit emphasizing the crucial role the arts play in our society, reopening part of the American wing of the Metropolitan Museum of Art on Monday and later addressing the crowd at a glittering ballet gala.
At both events, Mrs. Obama was greeted with enthusiastic ovations from audiences that included prominent figures in politics, the arts, entertainment and fashion. She stressed the importance of giving young people better access to the arts.
"The arts are not just a nice thing to have or to do if there is free time or if one can afford it," she said at the museum. "Rather, paintings and poetry, music and fashion, design and dialogue, they all define who we are as a people and provide an account of our history for the next generation."
"The president and I want to ensure that all children have access to great works of art," she told a crowd that included students from four New York City public schools that focus on the arts. "We want all children who believe in their talent to see a way to create a future for themselves in the arts community, either as a hobby or as a profession."
And she reminded the audience that her husband, President Barack Obama, had included an additional $50 million for the National Endowment for the Arts in his economic stimulus package.
Mrs. Obama spoke in the newly renovated Charles Engelhard Court, a striking room filled with sunlight, in front of the Greek Revival-style facade of an early 19th-century bank branch that was originally on Wall Street. She wore a bright purple Isaac Mizrahi sheath and coat.
To the amusement of a crowd that included Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., Vogue editor Anna Wintour, former model Iman and designer Ralph Lauren, Mrs. Obama was reminded by museum president Emily Rafferty that she and the president had their first date in a museum.
"Thank you for reminding me," Mrs. Obama said. "You know, after 20-some-odd years of knowing a guy, you forget that your first date was at a museum. But it was, and it was obviously wonderful; it worked." read more here....
Michelle at the Met and the Ballet