One of the more refreshing aspects of Barack Obama’s new message is his acknowledgement that even in times of financial crisis, we cannot let the arts fall by the wayside. Over the weekend he and Michelle Obama even practiced what they preached by taking in Joe’s Turner’s Come and Gone, a play about the experience of former African-American slaves in the early twentieth century.
The preaching part happened during an earlier visit to New York, when Mrs. Obama spoke to a crowd at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and rebuked those who feel the arts shouldn’t be prioritized in American education. “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 reopening of MOMA’s American Wing. “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.”