Yesterday Michelle Obama was in town for a second time since becoming the First Lady, this visit emphasizing the important role of the arts. She helped reopen the newly renovated American wing of the Metropolitan Museum of Art (where she commented on how she spent her first date with the President at a museum), and later on attended the American Ballet Theatre's Spring Gala. With our cultural institutions suffering during the current financial climate, it's nice to hear the First Lady remind people, "Nearly 6 million people make their living in the nonprofit arts industry. Arts and cultural activities contribute more than $160 billion to our economy every year."
She also told the crowd at the museum: "The arts are not just a nice thing to have or to do if there is free time or if one can afford it. 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. 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." Amongst those listening to her remarks were students from four NYC public schools.
As for the fashion part of the arts, Mrs. O has been tracking the First Lady's apparel since day one. Yesterday she wore a purple Isaac Mizrahi sheath and coat during the day, and for the ballet changed into a Azzedine Alaia dress she's had for two years.