Michelle Obama and Exposure to the Arts as a Gateway to More

I’m a fan of our First Lady.  And I enjoyed this article in the Washington Post today, “To showcase nation’s arts, first lady isn’t afraid to spotlight the unexpected.”

I love how she mixes power D.C. with “regular” D.C.  I love her attention to healthy food, arts, people.  I wish we were neighbors.  We are, relatively speaking, but we don’t exactly hang out together.

But I digress.  What I loved most about this article was her assertion that when children are exposed to a variety of things, they begin to know that more could happen in their lives.  Let me quote her, not me (way more exciting):

“My life is an anecdotal representation of the importance of music and culture. I grew up on the South Side of Chicago where you had me and my brother and a set of kids who happened to have parents that were a little more enlightened,” she said during an interview about her arts interests and advocacy. “We got to go to the symphony and we got to experience opera and we got to see and go to the museums when we were young. But we were also hanging out with kids who didn’t know these museums existed in the city they grew up in. We grew up with kids who had never seen the lake because they lived on the west side.”

She paused, and her silence underscored her disbelief. “Their disconnect from the heart of the city of Chicago was so deep,” she said, “that they had never seen the lake.”

“There’s a difference between where I am and where many of them are and that’s when I say, ‘There but for the grace of God go I,’ because these kids were smart, engaged,” she said. “They were missing that opportunity, and many times that opportunity came in the form of arts and culture.”

I take it for granted that my children had the chance to experience all sorts of arts, as well as all sorts of all sorts of things. But how can I see to it that all children in our country will have that?


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