The White House
Office of the Vice President
For Immediate Release
February 13, 2017
Second Lady Karen Pence Receives Courage Award
Tonight, Tracy’s Kids Art Therapy Program honored Second Lady Karen Pence with the Courage Award for her support of art therapy programs across the United States and world. She received the recognition at the annual fundraiser called, “And the Winner is…Tracy’s Kids,” an event supporting a charity that employs art therapy to help young cancer patients cope with the emotional toll imposed by cancer and its treatment. The Courage Award honors the strength, dignity and perseverance that cancer patients exhibit every day, and is presented to a public person who has worked to address the challenges inflicted by the disease.
“I am humbled by the recognition and grateful for the opportunity to be involved with an organization with such an important mission of providing art therapy to children with cancer,” said Mrs. Pence. “Tracy’s Kids is truly making a difference throughout our country and it’s encouraging to know that their art therapy programs are bringing a sense of hope to children and their families battling through a difficult period in their lives. I am honored to receive the Courage Award and will continue to help art therapy programs further their efforts and reach more families in our country and world as the Second Lady of the United States.”
Mrs. Pence has served on the board of Tracy’s Kids since 2011 and also serves as the Honorary Chair of the Art Therapy Initiative at Riley Hospital for Children in Indianapolis, Indiana. In 2014, through a charitable foundation she founded while serving as the First Lady of Indiana, Mrs. Pence presented Riley Hospital for Children with a check in the amount of $100,000 to support their art therapy program. She has also made it a priority to visit hospitals in the U. S. and other parts of the world when she travels abroad in order to get an up close look at art therapists in action as they are helping children. Mrs. Pence acknowledges that what art therapists do for the children and their families is critical to their healing, both emotionally and physically and appreciates the work they do to make a positive difference in their lives.
Tracy’s Kids art therapy program is provided at no cost to the children and families they serve at seven separate clinics: Medstar Georgetown University Hospital, Children’s National Medical Center, Children’s Hospital/Physicians Specialists of Virginia, Inova Children’s Hospital, Methodist Children’s Hospital in San Antonio, New York Presbyterian Hospital and Children’s Hospital at Sinai, Baltimore.
Celebrating National Arts and Humanities Month with an Eye to a New Cast of Characters
10/05/2016 10:05 am ET
Robert L. Lynch President and CEO, Americans for the Arts October means something very important to the arts world and to communities throughout the United States—National Arts and Humanities Month, a month to reflect on the many ways the arts and humanities contribute to our society. This year there is a sense of urgency. We are at the edge of a changing political tide, whereby elected leaders and administrations will change and support mechanisms for the arts will necessarily evolve. We have one last shot in 2016 to show our future elected leaders the importance of the arts in America.
The coast-to-coast celebration was born of a joint effort by Americans for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) thirty years ago, in honor of the NEA’s twentieth anniversary. President Reagan proclaimed National Arts Week and urged Americans to observe it with programs, ceremonies, and activities. Then, it focused public attention on arts in the community.
In 1993 the celebration expanded to a month-long celebration that included the humanities with the arts and has been so ever since, but President Reagan’s words at the inaugural celebration still echo today. We have come to expect a presidential proclamation every year with a show of support and encouragement to unleash creativity and reach for new heights, and this year is no different. We can only hope that our next president values the arts in the same way—and it’s up to us to remind elected officials, during this month dedicated to showcasing the value of the arts.
With 78 percent of Americans having a social media profile, showcasing the value of the arts is easier than ever. This year, our #ShowYourArt social media campaign is featuring a unique theme every day in October, and individuals and organizations are encouraged to share their images and personal stories on Instagram. You can get involved and share the art you love from the comfort of your own home or office.
Our National Creative Conversation—open to the public and held on Facebook on October 25—will bring together arts advocates and community leaders from across the country to discuss challenges and issues the arts face in their communities. Furthermore, our own Best Businesses Partnering with the Arts in America gala and our National Arts Awards happen annually during National Arts and Humanities Month.
We are working to do our part—and so are many others. Encompassing a broad spectrum of America are shining examples of organizations and artists which put their own creative twist on the occasion.
The National Veterans Creative Arts Festival showcases artistic achievements of Veterans from across the country in a grand finale stage and art show—the culmination of talent competitions in categories of art, music, dance, drama, and creative writing—for Veterans treated in the Department of Veterans Affairs national health care system.
Metro Nashville Arts Commission and NowPlayingNashville.com host Artober Nashville, one of the South’s single-largest cultural celebrations, which engages an estimated 400,000 Nashvillians with events in visual and performing arts, music, craft, film, and more. The event elevates the awareness of the city’s diverse cultural landscape and emphasizes how the entire community can enjoy the arts, from world-class galleries to street corners.
YMCA is getting involved too. In an effort to help more people realize the positive benefits that the arts have on youth and adults, more than 300 YMCAs nationwide annually hold Arts Week in conjunction with National Arts and Humanities Month. Budding artists have an opportunity to explore art expression and showcase their own creative works through a variety of programs and presentations by local artists.
These and myriad activities nationwide are helped tremendously by support from elected officials, and their support of local, state, and federal funders like the NEA is a critical piece, too. Over its 50 years of promoting cultural heritage and vitality throughout the United States, the NEA has helped to build a cultural infrastructure of arts agencies in every state, including more than 95,000 nonprofit arts organizations, and 4,500 local arts agencies in cities throughout the country. Thanks to the NEA, arts activity has grown in areas of the nation that were previously underserved or not served at all, especially in rural and inner-city communities.
The next president will be presenting a budget proposal to Congress in February, and it remains to be seen what level of support the NEA and all the other federal cultural agencies and programs will get. Future funding decisions will be greatly impacted by whom is elected to office—from president, to Congress, to governors and county boards.
The arts tell our collective story and connect us into one vibrant community. We want this month to celebrate the breadth and impact of the arts, and the more participation from all levels, the more attention and awareness the arts community will get. Between now and November 8, we need to make our voices heard. Let’s show our future elected officials the value of the arts, and collectively stand up for the arts in America!
Follow Robert L. Lynch on Twitter: www.twitter.com/Americans4Arts
October 6, 2016
The American Art Therapy Association and our friends at Americans for the Arts are celebrating October as National Arts and Humanities Month! President Obama has already kicked things off by issuing an official White House Proclamation that articulates the importance of the arts and culture in our history and in our future. He states, “In many ways, the arts and humanities reflect our national soul. They are central to who we are as Americans—as dreamers and storytellers, creators and visionaries. By investing in the arts, we can chart a course for the future in which the threads of our common humanity are bound together with creative empathy and openness.”
Art therapists are uniquely positioned to speak on the role of the creative arts in mental health, a topic of great importance for individuals, communities, organizations, and legislation. Join us in promoting National Arts and Humanities month and raising awareness for the importance of the arts!