Art Works Blog

Once upon a time . . .

Washington, DC

Photo by Victoria Hutter

By some accounts, today Rocco faced his toughest audience yet! At the invitation of Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, the NEA Chair was one of five readers who regaled an eager gathering of DC schoolkids with a lunchtime recitation of books for little readers.

The event was the final reading in a series of "Let's Read. Lets Move." events hosted by the U.S. Department of Education this summer. The department asked kids across the nation to read five books this summer to keep up their skills in preparation for the new school year. Joining  Rocco in the story chair were U.S. Representative Jim Moran (Virginia-8th District) who read Dr. Seuss's classic The Lorax.  U.S. Representative Eleanor Holmes Norton (DC) read Anne Rockwell's Our Earth, a colorful introduction to Earth's diverse geography. Corporation for National and Community Service CEO Patrick Corvington read Giles Andrae and Guy Parker-Rees' Giraffes Can't Dance, a story about following your dreams. And singer Cat Power, in town for Lilith Fair, read Shel Silverstein's poignant classic The Giving Tree.

What did Rocco read? Babar's Museum of Art by Laurent de Brunhoff. When Babar and Celeste, out on an afternoon hot air balloon excursion, spy an old train station, they decide to make it into an art museum. To quote Celeste, "All the art we've collected over the years needs a home. Why not make the station a museum?" (I'm wondering if she was inspired by NEA Design Director Jason Schupbach's vlogs on creative placemaking and livability?) The museum, of course, is a great success, and as de Brunhoff writes, "The elephants of Celesteville loved the new museum. They went there to relax, to study, and to get ideas."

Hmmm, maybe this book isn't just for kids after all . . . .

Add new comment