Art Works Blog

Notable Quotable: NEA Arts Magazine on the NEA at 50

In our new issue of NEA Arts magazine, we're celebrating the National Endowment for the Arts' 50th anniversary. The voices featured in the issue are a representative sample of the many artists and arts organizations we—and by extension you—have supported over the years. To quote from the magazine's intro, "As President Johnson said 50 years ago, 'The arts and the humanities belong to the people, for it is, after all, the people who create them.' In other words, the arts—and the NEA—belong to you."

Click on the name of each article to access the full story. And don't forget to visit our 50th anniversary site to read even more stories about the arts in the U.S. submitted by people from across the country.

African-American dancer leaping in air before performing center.

Chanel DeSilva of the Trey McIntyre Project at Jacob's Pillow Dance Festival in 2014. Photo by Christopher Duggan

“[L]ike all art forms, dance has many possibilities within it.” — Ella Baff, “The House That Ted Built: Celebrating and Preserving America’s Ephemeral Art at Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival”

“There would be no universities, no schools without what artists do. Higher thought is carried in different acts and products of arts.” — Joy Harjo, “Joy Harjo: An Unstoppable Force”

“It’s one of the really exciting ways to use theater, to give an artist a second draft, a second shot, the ability to keep discovering their play after the first production.” — Christopher Ashley, “Broadway on the Beach: A Legacy of Community at La Jolla Playhouse”

“Follow your dream; your passion. Follow your gut and create something no one has seen before.” — Dale Chihuly, “Creating Something No One Has Seen Before: Artist Dale Chihuly”

Man with glasses playing a saxophone.

NEA Jazz Master James Moody undertook a four-day residency with the Seattle Repertory Jazz Orchestra in 2008 as part of Earshot Jazz's NEA Jazz Masters Live grant. Photo by Daniel Sheehan, courtesy of Earshot Jazz

“We’re building both the love of learning in children at the same time that they’re getting introduced to the performing arts.” — Jennifer Cooper, “Starting Young: Wolf Trap’s Institute for Early Learning Through the Arts”

“The best thing that we can do is to keep fertile the ground that would nurture new jazz artists, young jazz artists, any one of whom could go on to be the next Ornette Coleman or a major influence in the future of the music.” — John Gilbreath, "Improvising with the Community: Seattle Earshot Jazz”

“There will never be a better example of how people respond to tragedy, to loss, to high emotion. What else can they use besides the arts?” — Jackie L. Jones, “Opening the Heart and Soul: Spiritual and Physical Rebirth After the Oklahoma City Bombing”

“We want people to hear how we can see ourselves in all of these storytellers, and that’s what we believe will make the world a better place.” — Sarah Haberman, “Understanding the Moth: True Stories Told Live”

“There are people who feel that if an artist’s work doesn’t pay for itself there’s something wrong with it, and anyone who’s got even the remotest knowledge about cultural history knows that many of the greatest works of art whether they’re Beethoven symphonies or Michelangelo sculptures or poetry or whatever was the result of enlightened patronage and art very often doesn’t pay for itself.” — John Adams, “John Adams: His Music is Contemporary, Classical, and Rooted in America”

“Whether it’s their personal lives, whether it’s in the community initiatives or nonprofits, or whether it’s in education or whatever, the arts expose people to the beautiful search for excellence. And that changes communities, it’s changed Charleston.” — Joseph P. Reilly, “Taking the Long View: Mayor Joe Riley and Charleston’s Revitalization”

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