4:25 PM EDT
Louise Slaughter, D-NY 28th

Ms. SLAUGHTER. Madam Speaker, it is a great pleasure to be here with a member of the Rules Committee and my cochair of the Arts Caucus. It is wonderful to work with Mr. Platts, and I appreciate the kind words that he said about the work that we do.

I rise today to honor the 50th anniversary of Americans for the Arts. As the leading nonprofit organization for advancing the arts and arts education in the United States, Americans for the Arts continues to be dedicated to representing and serving local communities and creating opportunities for participation and enjoyment in all forms of the arts.

Founded in 1960 in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, the original mission was and continues to be to enhance support for the nonprofit arts. In 1965, Americans for the Arts played a key role in the establishment of the National Endowment for the Arts. A half century later, Americans for the Arts continues to foster the arts at the local, State, and national level.

Under the remarkable stewardship of Robert Lynch for the last 25 years, Americans for the Arts has provided leadership and training to local public and nonprofit agencies through a national network of arts and business councils, business committees for the arts, and local and State agencies.

Research by Americans for the Arts measured the economic impact of the arts, which was a wonderful piece of work and gave us a lot of ammunition on the Arts Caucus. It showed that approximately 100,000 nonprofit cultural organizations generate $166.2 billion in economic activity every year--now that is a great return on not much money--supporting 5.7 million jobs. In my congressional district alone, there are over 1,200 arts-related businesses employing almost 16,000 people.

In addition to fostering art jobs in our local communities, Americans for the Arts has worked to promote the importance of arts education in the public schools. Young people who regularly participate in arts programs are more likely to have better attendance records, to be involved in their school government, excel in their academics, and develop the creative and innovative skills necessary for us to compete in the 21st century global workforce.

Through national events like Arts Advocacy Day, Americans for the Arts brings national attention to the importance of arts throughout our Nation. The arts define our culture and instill unique character in the communities across our Nation. Art transcends barriers of language, time, and generation, translating cultural differences, breathing life into history, and bridging experience across cultures. They accomplish the seemingly impossible task of both revealing our differences across the globe

while managing to illuminate all that connects us.

I thank Americans for the Arts and the wonderful staff and all of the people who have devoted so much of their working careers to this noble effort. And of their wonderful, fine accomplishments that they have achieved over 50 years, I am sure that the next 50 will produce even more great work, and we will all continue to enjoy the richness that the arts provide to each of our lives.