Transcript from Wynton’s speech at Arts Advocacy Day

Wynton Marsalis speaks at a House Appropriations subcommittee (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

On March 13, 2007, Wynton was in Washington for the National Arts Advocacy Day 2007. He spoke at House Appropriations subcommittee hearing on the importance of investing in the arts.

Mr. Marsalis spoke about how the arts help shape a nation’s identity, cultural diplomacy, and disaster relief for cultural organizations in rebuilding communities. He is also the Co-Chair of the Cultural Subcommittee of the “Bring New Orleans Back” Commission.

Here you can download the transcript of his speech (PDF file – 52 kb).

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  1. Thank you for an eloquent description of the state of the arts (or lack thereof) in our nation. Having worked as the head of a school music booster organization, I have seen how our children excel when they are involved with the arts. As you alluded to, elementary children begin to start “real school” in the third grade–much less emphasis on using the arts to help them understand their world. While all schools have music curriculum, it often centers on music which is catchy, but like eating Wonder Bread—no substance.

    Careers in the arts are indeed possible, but in my experience much more mentoring needs to be done by established artists. Where is the support from not only high profile talent such as yourself, but also less well known, but still important members of the arts, and particularly the jazz community for our high school and college age students? In many other disciplines, mentors appear in the workplace for young upcoming talent. In the music world, the nature of musicians as self-employed free lancers results in young talent being unable to access the wisdom of mature musicians. I encourage high profile artists to find a way to help the next generation of jazz musicians network and be brought up and into the fold.

    Jan on Mar 23rd, 2007 at 11:35am

  2. Wynton, Thank you for being a voice for the significance of dance. This critical art form is underrepresented in this culture, yet dance provides a forum for much of our physical interaction between individuals in the predominant social options available to us in this society. Dance forms vary greatly, as cultural practices that connect us with the peoples of a variety of nations and traditions. In the United States, we have such a beautiful variety of people from so many places that is would only serve us to have a greater forum in which to explore and enjoy each others movement and dance. This idea is expressed best through the Akan proverbs from Ghana “Agromma”, which symbolizes the proverb “Children who dance and play together are children of love”.

    Karen on Mar 17th, 2007 at 5:13am

  3. Good work!
    Wynton masters words and ideas.
    He knows how to choose and handle more adequate ones to build up remarkable thesis.
    Always showing integrity and in pursuit of people’s dignity.
    Congratulations Wynton!.
    Take care.

    MTS on Mar 14th, 2007 at 7:39pm