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                      Office of the Press Secretary
                             (Houston, Texas)
For Immediate Release                                 September 29, 1997


October 1997

America celebrates October as National Arts and Humanities Month to recognize the unique role that the arts and humanities play in the lives of our families, our communities, and our country.

For more than 200 years, the arts and humanities have distinguished us as individuals and united us as a nation. The arts empower us to express ourselves and to understand and appreciate the expressions of others. Through the study of literature, history, and philosophy, we learn to build on the riches of our past to create a firm foundation for a better future. Together, the arts and humanities teach us to celebrate the cultural diversity unique to America, while transcending differences in race, ethnicity, age, or creed.

Each day our world evolves farther from our notion of the familiar, and we must adapt to its changing nature. In this challenging time, we look to our artists and scholars to inform our decisions and our actions. Musicians, actors, philosophers, playwrights, painters, writers, sculptors, dancers, and historians share with us their talent and training, inspiring our finest achievements and giving voice to our deepest aspirations.

Because we discover our greatest possibilities through the exploration of the human spirit, we must encourage our young people to build on this cultural legacy and seek their highest potential in the arts and humanities. Children inspired by their own creative achievements excel in other areas of learning, developing the skills and the confidence to create better lives and brighter futures.

As we observe National Arts and Humanities Month this year, let us reflect on the role of these vital pursuits in our individual lives and in the life of our democracy. Today, on the threshold of a new millennium, they are more essential than ever to the endurance of our values of tolerance, pluralism, and freedom; to our understanding of where we are and where we need to go. Let us remember that the arts and humanities are a necessity, not a luxury, and that every American deserves to have access to them. And let us resolve to sustain America's national commitment to the arts and humanities so that we may preserve for the generations to come the great artistic and intellectual life of our nation.


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