Since 1993, the country has celebrated October as National Arts and Humanities Month. This national celebration connects artists with their neighbors and opens the doors of cultural organizations to their communities, welcoming young and old to experience and participate in the arts and humanities. Book festivals, poetry readings, theater, dance, mural paintings, lectures and discussions and musical performance are among the many events that will showcase the arts and humanities this month.
President Obama kicked off the month with a presidential proclamation, which stated among other things: “We must recognize the contributions of the arts and humanities not only by supporting the artists of today, but also by giving opportunities to the creative thinkers of tomorrow. Educators across our country are opening young minds, fostering innovation, and developing imaginations through arts education. Through their work, they are empowering our Nation's students with the ability to meet the challenges of a global marketplace.”
Two dozen San Diego museums will be offering free admission to children 12 and under during October, joining hundreds of other towns and cities in engaging young people in the arts and humanities. “Fall for the Arts” is also happening in San Diego and Cape Cod among other places and their shared purpose is in the words of a San Diego organizer:
“It’s an opportunity to get everybody under one roof and have them interact with the public, friends, fans and perhaps new audiences they don’t have the same kind of opportunity to reach in their own venues.”
President Obama in the proclamation opened with a few words about Norman Rockwell’s “The Problem We All Live With”, which is one of the iconic images of the Civil Rights Era. “Like Rockwell's painting, art in all its forms often challenges us to consider new perspectives and to rethink how we see the world. This image still moves us with its simple poignancy, capturing a moment in American history that changed us forever. This is the power of the arts and humanities -- they speak to our condition and affirm our desire for something more and something better.”
Thirty-six other works of Rockwell’s were recently conserved with a Save America’s Treasures award from the President’s Committee, National Park Service, National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) and the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS). Save America’s Treasures and the cultural agencies have also been instrumental in making all of Rockwell’s work more accessible to the public, which in itself is a fitting tribute to National Arts & Humanities Month, and its efforts to engage the next generation in the arts and humanities.