May 19, 2009

First lady visits NYC to promote the arts

Michelle Obama, the wife of U.S. President Barack Obama, was in New York Monday to remind people of the importance of the arts to the nation's identity.

The New York Times said Michelle Obama attended the opening night at the American Ballet Theater and the reopening of part of the American Wing of the Metropolitan Museum of Art after a two-year renovation. They were her inaugural appearances at cultural events in New York as first lady.

The arts are not just a nice thing to have, The Times quoted her as saying. (They) define who we are as a people.

The newspaper said fashion designer Ralph Lauren, the former model Iman and Vogue editor Anna Wintour were part of the audience at the Metropolitan Museum.

The president and I want to ensure that all children have access to great works of art, Obama told the crowd, which also included dozens of public schoolchildren. This is your place, too.

Obama and her husband were also named as honorary co-chairwoman and chairman for Monday night's spring ballet gala at the Metropolitan Opera House. Also listed as co-chairwomen were Carolina Herrera, Renee Zellweger and Caroline Kennedy.

My husband and I believe strongly that arts education is essential for building innovative thinkers who will be our nation's leaders of tomorrow, Obama said at the dance event.