Americans for the Arts on the Legacy of Senator Edward M. Kennedy
WASHINGTON, DC — August 26, 2009 — Americans for the Arts President and CEO Robert L. Lynch gave the following statement on the passing of Senator Edward M. Kennedy:
“Today the arts community remembers the life of Senator Edward M. Kennedy. Throughout his 46 years of service in the Senate, he came to be one of the most effective legislative leaders for the arts. Senator Kennedy carried forth the arts and humanities legacy his brother John F. Kennedy began. He powerfully advocated the need to nurture creativity and to broaden access to artistic excellence in the U.S. Senate, and his leadership extended to co-founding and co-chairing the Senate Arts Caucus.
“I recall standing and singing with Senator Kennedy on the steps of the U.S. Capitol. Hundreds of arts supporters and legislators were with us rallying on behalf of saving and increasing federal support for the arts, as Peter Yarrow led a rousing sing-a-long of ‘This Land is Your Land.’ That day was just of the many times I had the personal pleasure of working with Senator Kennedy on federal arts issues.
“Throughout his work, Senator Kennedy carried strong messages of freedom of expression, tolerance, and creative rights. He spoke staunchly of the central role of the federal government in supporting American cultural life, inspiring bipartisan cooperation among his colleagues. As chairman of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions, he pressed forth the need to have strident arts education policies. Just this spring, Congress passed the Serve America Act, named after Senator Kennedy, which includes music and arts education in the Education Corps activities.
“A decade ago, Americans for the Arts presented him with our Congressional Leadership Award. These words were written then and they remain true today: ‘He is a steadfast friend of the arts who can be counted on to write legislation to advance the arts, speak passionately about the role of the arts in our lives, and even step into a guest stint as conductor of the Boston Pops.’
“His warmth, humor, empathy, and fierce passion will be missed by me, as well as entire national arts community. We are all diminished by his loss.”
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Americans for the Arts is the leading nonprofit organization for advancing the arts in America. With offices in Washington, DC, and New York City, it has a record of 49 years of service. Americans for the Arts is dedicated to representing and serving local communities and creating opportunities for every American to participate in and appreciate all forms of the arts. Additional information is available at www.AmericansForTheArts.org.