First Lady Praises Arts on NYC Visit
Michelle attends ballet gala, reopening of Met's American wing
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted May 19, 2009 5:49 AM CDT
First lady Michelle Obama speaks during American Ballet Theatre's Spring Gala at the Metropolitan Opera House in New York yesterday.   (AP Photo/Jason DeCrow)
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(Newser) – Michelle Obama emphasized the administration's support for the arts on a visit to New York City yesterday, the New York Times reports. Speaking at the ribbon-cutting for the Metropolitan Museum of Art's partially reopened American wing and at the star-studded opening night of the American Ballet Theater, the first lady described the arts as vital to American society, even in tough economic times.

"The arts are not just a nice thing to have or to do if there is free time or if one can afford it," she said. "Rather, paintings and poetry, music and fashion, design and dialogue, they all define who we are as a people and provide an account of our history for the next generation."