Art Works Blog

Art Works in Peoria!

Washington, DC

Congressman Aaron Schock (l)  presented me with this wonderful Art Works poster when I visited him on Capitol Hill last week. It's actually a collage made up of 2,700 photos submitted by local artists. The poster is now hanging in the Chairman's office at the NEA. Photo courtesy of the office of U.S. Representative Aaron Schock

I paid a visit to U.S. Representative Aaron Schock’s office on Capitol Hill last week. To me, it brought a lot of our work at the NEA full circle because, to a great extent, all of this started in Peoria with our visit out there as the kick-off of our Art Works tour. And, of course, Peoria is a fantastic example of how art can work to transform communities. Aaron Schock is a very dynamic young congressman who I think has a big future in the political life of our country. He’s conservative, but he does see the value of the arts in his own community.

We have so many good friends in common there---Suzette Boulais who’s head of the Peoria local arts group, and my old friend Kathy Chitwood is there. Mayor Jim Ardis of Peoria and Mayor David Mingus of East Peoria have been very supportive of the arts.

Congressman Schock and I just had a lot of points of intersection, and it was almost like visiting an old friend even though it was the first time we met. I think that probably the NEA is going to continue to intersect with Peoria, and I think there’s a lot of the story of Peoria and the arts that can be instructive nationwide. The next time I go out to Peoria, I hope to do so with Congressman Schock and for us to be working together with that community.

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