tv Key Capitol Hill Hearings CSPAN October 25, 2014 6:30am-8:01am EDT
if you would like a copy of today's program please check out our website at press.org. thank you all very much. we are adjourned. [applause] [inaudible conversations] >> the 2015 c-span student can video competition is under way open to all middle and high school students to create a 5 to 7 minute documentary on the theme of the three branches and you showing how policy, law or action by the executive, legislative or judicial branch of the federal government has affected you or your community.
there are 200 cash prizes totaling $100,000 for the list of rules and how to get started go to studentcam.org. >> next, remarks by the new president of the john f. kennedy center for the performing arts, deborah rutter. she outlined her plans for the kennedy center and emphasized the importance of art education and cultural diplomacy. agree easily served as president of the chicago symphony orchestra association and was executive director of the seattle symphony. this is an hour. [inaudible conversations] >> good afternoon and welcome. i am an adjunct professor of george washington university school of media and public affairs. former international bureau chief of the associated press and president of the national press club. the national press club is the
world's leading professional organization for journalists committed to our profession's future through our program in the events such as this while fostering a free press worldwide. for more information about the national press club please visit our web site at press.org. on behalf of our members worldwide and would like to welcome our speaker and those of you attending today's event. hour head table includes guest of our speaker as well as working journalists who are club members. we hear applause in our audience. i know members of the general public are attending. it is not necessarily evidence of a lack of jenna listed object to the if you here applause. i would like to welcome our c-span and public radio audiences. you can follow the action on to using the hash tag in pc lunch. after august speech, we will have a question and answer period.
i will ask as many questions as time permits. now it is time to introduce our head table guests. i would like each of you to stand briefly as your name is announced and let me begin with on your right, the speaker committee member, elizabeth brownstein. a member of the press club's history and heritage committee and a writer of our online newsletter is this week in the national press club history. doris margolis, president of the editorial associates and member of the speaker's committee. jasmine sabawi , washington correspondent for the kuwait news agency. nick apostleitys, quote organizer of this luncheon. pgi adrian arts, leading arts philanthropist who serves on the board of trustees at the kennedy center and a major funder
notably of the adrian arts musical theater fund at the center and she is a guest of our speaker. jerry zeremsky, chairman of the speaker's committee and former president of the national press club. skip the novara, any henderson, historian at the national portrait gallery and co organizer of this luncheon. thank you very much. helen henderson, important philanthropist who serves on the boards of the kennedy center and the national symphony orchestra. she contributes to both through the h r h foundation named for her mother, helen henderson in she too is the guest of our speaker. maria, art and culture correspondent for the fort worth telegram. mark lino, senior associate
editor for the personal finance magazine and secretary of national press club. in melbourne, chairman of the board of governors of the national press club, former chair of the broadcast committee and retired staffer from the associated press broadcast division and michael phelps, former publisher of the washington examiner and adviser to news media executives. round of all applause. [applause] >> the year before his death president john f. kennedy spoke on behalf of the national cultural center that would ultimately bear his name. after the dust of centuries is passed, he said, we too will be remembered not for victories or defeats or bat or politics but our contribution to the human spirit. this september, debra -- deborah rutter became president of the
john f. kennedy center for the performing arts, the first woman to serve in that office and the first to come from the world orchestras. she grew up in a family that loved music, her father was a founder of the los angeles master chorale. she began playing the violin as a child and she said playing the violin was how i found out who i was. she comes to washington from chicago where she what's president in chicago symphony orchestra association. she said she was drawn to the kennedy center because of the opportunity to use art to affect the rest of the world. once develop greater collaboration with other art and cultural organizations including museums, theaters and non-traditional groups. she said kennedy center should have a seat at the table in dealing with challenging social and cultural issues. deborah rutter is a prolific fundraisers known for recruiting top talent and boosting out
reach to new audiences. she will serve as the center's artistic ended ministry of leader for theater, dance, chamber music and jazz. she will also oversee the national symphony orchestra and washington national opera. you will be inheriting an ambitious $100 million renovation that is expected to be completed on john f. kennedy's 100th birth day in 2017. please join me in welcoming the new president of the kennedy center, deborah rutter. [applause] >> i think you said it all, so we are done now. we can all have a nice afternoon. thank you for the invitation to be here, thank you nick, thank you, amy, for the opportunity to be here and for your very
generous words. you have done great research. it is a pleasure and honor for me to be here. when you don't live in washington d.c. this place, this place right here, not just washington d.c. but this places a very famous or inspiring place so it is a great honor for me to be here and i'm really grateful to my friends who are here from the kennedy center and care about the arts and our society. i want to say thank-you to adrian and helen for being my stalwart -- side by side great friends and support. i have been thinking a lot about storytelling recently. i am not exactly sure why but as i think about it, there are some signposts. this has been a year of major transition for me and my family and as one says farewell to one
home, community and friends there, it leads you to reflect to some degree and commemorate your time there. last spring i had many opportunities to share memories, tells stories and laugh about shared history. also in moving, the trauma of moving, you and cover all kinds of things and we have come across the countless boxes of memorabilia, some reason, some really ancient, all of which job one's memory of stories that are told and some untold. then of course my daughter who has the same propensity to keep things that her mother as has childhood story books and they are plentiful recalling for me the moments of joy and intimacy and wonder in the telling and retelling of those wonderful stories so perhaps this is why i have a preoccupation with
storytelling right now. arriving in washington has been an adventure for all of us. meeting new friends and colleagues such as you today connecting with old friends which has been really wonderful for me, learning the system of how the city works, my daughter finding ways around her school and for me a new place to work. let me tell you that is a real study, figuring out how to get around there. stories are plentiful. as i introduce myself and hear about the history and the people of our new home. you might say that is what washington d.c. is all about, but i would say this is what our world is all about, not just washington but our world. it is about storytelling. storytelling is the way we share who we are with others. it is a way to reveal oneself,
to communicate feelings and ideas. with our stories we share history, get to know one another. storytelling connects us and represents the drawstrings of our lives. all of us are storytellers in one form or another. some of us are better or funnier than others, some more colorful and creative. others more liberal and concise but we are all telling one story or another. just to make sure i was on the right track i went to the ultimate source and tight in definition of storytelling on my internet browser. the results, storytelling is the conveying of events in words and images often by improvisation or embellishment. stories or narratives have been shared in every culture as a means of entertainment, education, cultural preservation and instilling more of values. i didn't have to look far to find out exactly what i was looking for in terms of that
definition. so with this definition it argues that journalists are true professional storytellers, hopefully without too much embellishment or improvisation. journalists provide the heroic war role of documenting our collective lives, our shared history, you are the ones we engage with everyday who are -- hopefully everyday -- every day in my case. your work provides the recorded history we reflect back on to understand who we are the culture, what actions we are taking, what decisions were made. what we have done as a result of those decisions, how we reached the larger world has responded so i put forth to you that art is just another form of storytelling. it provides the narrative to our lives. a way of advancing as well as preserving our culture, the
story as conveyed through artistic expression comes in varying forms. sometimes it is literal. sometimes it is the obscure. initially beyond understanding. it can be fun and entertaining, engrossing and provocative. no matter the medium or the actual story, it is always making one think and feel. theater, opera, dance, music, film and the visual arts, all of these are telling the stories. often there is just pure entertainment to be enjoyed as well. who doesn't need that maybe now more than ever but an evening of so-called pure entertainment is likely also a time when other emotions and ideas are bubbling inside. i sought of the out with my daughter and her friend recently at the opera house at the kennedy center and this is a perfect example of an evening where one begins by saying i am going to hear a music theater work with great tunes, and
dancing, it will be fun. but the truth, great music, wonderful actors telling a story. what is that story about? the struggle of lower class to break out of its cycle of poverty. overwhelming narcissism, agreed consuming power that brings down not just a woman and a family but a whole country. yes, it is us story about history using the theater to convey not just the details but emotions, insights and values. the performing arts highlight all the emotions of our world. 9 a spotlight on those topics, sometimes we dare not to debate, force us to experience feelings we may want to brush aside. the quiet of a darkened theater allows us to enter a world simultaneously shared with others in the audience and yet experience individually in our
hearts and minds. with a veto will look back on an era of a country, its history. in the case of tony customer's angels in america we are faced with the reality of life experienced by another part of our society. that epic play change the way we talk about gay life and aids. while it is perhaps shocking when it premiered in its format, dialogue and frank treatment of the issues and ultimately was one of the first and most important bautista expressions on that topic using the theater again as a way to explore social issues. so think about swan lake, reflect on the right of spring, consider balk's st. matthew's passion which i love so much, all our stories to be told using the performing arts to communicate beauty, perspective,
thoughtfulness, spirituality. they also challenged us as we sit in the darkened theater to understand ourselves, consider our society and our environment. my argument, arch is certainly for art's sake. i really agree with that statement and i support all who enter it but i also fervently believe in the concept of art for life's sake. we cannot live or share this world without art. art is the way we tell stories of our lives, to offer commentary on the world we live in, to provide a sanctuary for personal, spiritual reflection, opportunity to state more boldly those ideas that may feel too difficult, too dangerous for whatever reason, to personal or social the challenging, or better yet the joy and exaltation of life. the examples of andrew lloyd
webber or tony kushner perhaps seem rather obvious as a way of demonstrating the rolling to importance of art in storytelling but i want to tell you now of quite a different example. when we announced in chicago that art and music direction was ricardo lucci he surprise us not for the first tour last time by announcing at his introductory press conference that he wanted to take the orchestra to all parts of chicago especially those without access to news at, even to prisons. he and i spoke often of his interest in sharing their resources, the musicmaking of the orchestra in community but prison was a bit of a surprise to us. our team took the challenge it after some consideration developed a really special program. we chose to go to a juvenile detention center to work with young women in partnership with story catcher's the.
every week, every week two members of our course go to the illinois state detention center in warren ville working side by side with feeder teaching artists, developing stories and lyrics written by the girls, the inmates themselves, their stories, stories that are hard to tell, stories that are hard to hear. after four months of preparation like this, the cfo composer and residents also go to the center for residency end work on developing songs with the girls. they write the tunes and she helps orchestrate it. she ranges the songs for instance, instruments to are performed by members of the cso and civic orchestra in chicago who ultimately perform with the girls their original musical theater piece. the performances for the other girls in the center and all of
their families, an incredibly powerful experience telling the stories that are often unfolds, hidden, locked away. you can imagine the powerful emotions that fill the library of that detention center. i experienced a couple times as a guest. some of those families never heard their daughter or sister or niece or granddaughter communicate so directly. they didn't know that she had the power to share that story which is on tolls and therefore unknown. that our of performance changed the lives of those girls, those families for me forever. that is what i mean by a hartford life's sake. [applause] >> thank you. the follow-up activity that includes ricotta takes place
before or after those four to six months. i was rather skeptical about his participation before i first went to warrantville with him. he requested a piano and the two singers who goes there which was really good because they didn't know him but they knew the singers well. twice each year he does this, he goes and spends 90 minutes with about 2 dozen girls from the center and you probably think this is as crazy as i did but in fact performing opera arias, the women they knew so well was offering a mirror for these girl's lives and inspiration. where else do you hear stories of anger, fear, deception, family strife, betrayal, love and possible seats of courage?
opera. somehow lucci knew that and he knew exactly how to convey that to them, to have someone of that renowned care about 2 dozen girls in a detention center in a small town in illinois. imagine what that means and imagine how that is so affirming in their lives. art for life's sake. at the kennedy center we overflow in the sharing and telling of stories. you probably know all of the programs, so many of you told me how you attend programs at the kennedy center, but i suspect there are a number of programs you don't know about because i didn't know about them much and i am paying pretty close attention and until i got here i didn't know about them so in addition to the daily stage performances, the six productions of the washington national opera, 30 weeks of
subscriptions to the national symphony orchestra, the annual international festival, the extraordinary range of ballet offerings, cutting and dance and theater programs, blockbuster musical theater offerings, we present and produce so much at the kennedy center, but we also have perhaps the most expensive local and national educational offerings in the country. i am particularly interested in this for personal reasons myron told you about but i will say them if it is okay. standing before you is the product primarily of a public-school education and in the third grade, my elementary school teacher opened the classroom cabinet and said what instrument will you play? not do you want to play, but what will you play? and and i am here today because i had the opportunity to find
myself through music. he got the story right, didn't he? the teacher in that public school gave me the first tools and curiosity and passion to find myself. to write my story here in the arts. i believe fervently fat every child, every individual in this country deserves to find themselves whether it is in academics, athletics or the arts. art education has been diminished to such a degree that generations have lost the opportunity for even a basic education in the arts on their school day. our organizations across the country are desperately working to supplement programs that do exist, there are insufficient resources to ensure that all children had that experience in the classroom.
the work we drifted the kennedy center supports teachers, students and families in their discovery of themselves through the arts and enormously proud of those programs. and i am still getting to know all of them because they are so multitudinous. i want to share the ones i do know about with you now. do you know the kennedy center spends $1 million annually on schools in the district of columbia. in this local region through such programs as d.c. partnerships and in the neighborhood, get on the bus. did you know that only 35,000 teachers, participated in 730 professional learning programs. not just how to teach the arts
but how to use art in the classroom, to teach other subjects like math and science and history. the center provides a lesson plans, audio and video pod cast, interactive games and the how to for teachers to use the arts, and in this classroom, 8 million interactions' through the kennedy center web site, and the k-12 area of itunes took place. 8 million. there is a need, there's a hunter for this. in 2014, over 25,000 students with disabilities from across the united states participated in programs at the kennedy center. did you know that the kennedy center worked directly with 657, 657, not 658, 657 colleges university theater departments
across the united states. and the kennedy center directly touches 11 million people year, this excludes the 2 million in come to events and performances and visit the kennedy center each year and the 8 million who watch the kennedy center honors and all the other broadcasts. 11 million through these education programs, the kennedy center education department has done a remarkable creative program crafting a specific targeted program for young people often without getting much recognition for that work. in the past week in years the kennedy center, 36 new works for young audiences, new theater addressing issues that children are experiencing. we have countless stories of
alumni in various programs and professional training programs whether it is and simmons were theater and they do great things. you find and upper houses and orchestras, they win awards, they win the greatest shows on television, performing and writing. what an achievement. and delivering on a promise to excite young audiences to support teachers and perhaps most importantly to encourage young aspiring artists. additionally, access to performances. we want to support the storytelling of the future and the future of art. in the next decade i expect to grow on the achievements of our last 4 years of programming and
service. as you heard already we have a new expansion in the kennedy center which will open over three years. the newest basis, and experiencing what will further promise to keep our essential to the cultural dialogue, and brake down boundaries of artists and audience and cultivate a sense of discovery and stimulate investment in creation and innovation, risk-taking and did venture. and the existing center on december 4th, of this year, nearly 50 years to the day when the ground was broken on the kennedy center. with an us this is day. a new era, remaining true to the remarkable individuals for whom
the memorial was created. and quotes to share that are meaningful. to show the appreciation of culture of all the people. and increased perspective to the individual to widen participation for all the processes and fulfillments of art. this is one of the fascinating challenges of these days. and of crassness of the programming offerings and the platform for the role of the arts and culture in the nation and society. and the storytelling of our lives with passion and creativity with artists and the audiences who engage with them. we seek to fulfill president kennedy's noble mission, one
story at a time. [applause] >> picking up on your last comment, how do you feel the kennedy center can improve its ability to live up to such a noble and grand vision in many of the quotes by her john f. kennedy? >> the work the we undertake at the kennedy center and as part administrators and artists around the country is one that takes passion, drive and believe. the good news is there are people like our patrons who are
really come to understand the vf willing free formed spaces where artists and those of us who aspire to be artists or who appreciate the art, the creators, will have a better contact with one another. and so this space, the new expansion, will be about connecting people to the art and to the artists even more than they have, to break down the barrier that sort of exists between where we sit in the audience and where they stand or sit and perform. and yet we'll have the traditional spaces as well as the new and informal spaces. so we'll be able to celebrate all of it. but it's about providing access and opportunity to participate, and that takes mission and the work of all of us. >> thank you. are there any types of programs or concerts, performances that you'd like to see more of at the kennedy center? >> thank you to the people who are writing these good questions
for me. [laughter] i grew up loving -- you heard me say that i love the st. matthew passion of bach. i also love stravinsky's rite of spring, but i'm also compelled by the work that's being created today. and i think that we need to have more work being created by artists today. so one of the great things is that we have the little dancer which is a production, a musical theater production that will be opening soon at the kennedy center, and it is about artists who are creating today. i think we need to expand on that. i think we need to have other types of creative artists. i think we need to take a few more risks, push the envelope, bring our audiences along to understand and appreciate that. i keep being told that washington, d.c. is much more
conservative in their tastes, but i'm going to push you on that. [laughter] and hope that you'll follow along, that we will promise to be trustworthy guides in that process. but let's have a journey, you know? beethoven wrote some pretty experimental work, and it was very experimental at the time. so let's find who those artists are of our day. pleasure. >> thank you. what is the future of the washington national opera? >> well, the future -- the washington national opera is really old. it's been around a lot longer than the kennedy center has, so it's really about nurturing and encouraging and continuing to develop it as an artistic ensemble, an artistic organization to. organization. you can't ever stop supporting
the growth of artists. this is, you can never say, oh, well, that orchestra is a really great orchestra, or that opera company has done everything. it is a constant support. you need to offer opportunities, stretch, grow. and we will continue to stretch and grow, and the success and future of the washington national opera is great. [applause] >> thank you. >> come of these questions might have -- some of these questions might have an obvious answer, but we'd like to hear it from you. so i ask will ballet and dance continue to have a strong place in the kennedy center's programming? why or why not? >> the real attraction to an individual who has spent 36 years going to multiple performances of an orchestra every week is that i get to do all in this other stuff as well. and ballet and dance are just as
important in our work. i think that, in fact, being in a place where we have all of these art forms under one roof and, actually, the opportunity to look outside to the rest of the country to see what other art forms are not yet fully represented in the kennedy center is really important. it's fun, it's exciting to have all of these art forms, and they build and grow because of the synergy of being there in one place. so i think that is an obvious question, but i'm happy to answer it. >> are you happy with the national similar symphony? what will it take for them to take the leap into the top level of american orchestra ises -- orchestras? >> u.s. >> just as i said about the
symphony is the same for the orchestra. what it really means is teacher, and every orchestra needs to be motivated, led, guided by teachers. and they often need different kinds of teachers. one teacher will offer one kind of -- it's like having the science teacher and the math teacher, etc. christophe everybodien bach is an extraordinary musician. we need to continue to help elevating the music making, the quality of opportunity for music making and the experiences both for the audience and the orchestra. it's really important for you to know that being an audience member is as important to the ongoing success of an artistic ensemble whether it's the opera, the dance or ballet or the orchestra, as it is to be great performers on the stage. because it is about the relationship between the performers and the audience.
you can feel it. i can feel you. you feel what's going on in the audience, and so your role as audience members are as important for the development of an artistic ensemble as anything else. so i need your help by being a part of our community that supports and nurture us this orchestra as it continues to grow as well. >> orchestras in minnesota and atlanta have in recent years been beset with labor strife. do you have any worries about that happening in washington? >> well, after six weeks on the job, i'm an expert on everything -- [laughter] one of the first things i have wanted to do is to get to know all of the people in the building, including the performers whether in the nso or the opera house orchestra.
and it is vital to have an open, honest dialogue around the hopes and aspirations, realities and future plans for your institution. we don't always agree with one another, and i'm not saying that about the kennedy center, i'm saying that generally about performers and those of us who support the performers. but if we have open dialogue, honest, supportive communication, you can work through problems. and sometimes you have those moments where you hit heads, but the idea is if you talk enough, if you communicate, if you mostly listen and listen for understanding, you can get through that. and so i'm expecting that we will listen for understanding within all of the parties at the
kennedy center. >> the audience for classical music and the other arts featured at the kennedy center is an old one. what are your ideas about attracting younger audiences to the kennedy center? >> it's amazing how the same question has been asked for 36 years. [laughter] and i always say 36 years because before that, i wasn't aware of those questions being asked. but for the last 36 years, people have been asking the same question. so either we are dorr january gray and we're getting younger and we're still the same audience, or people are still coming. and people are still coming. think about how many people are coming to performances all the time. the biggest issue that we have is that there are so many opportunities to engage in so many different types of art forms. it used to be that there were only a few. there were only a few theaters,
there was only an orchestra, one or the other, in a city. and now there is such proliferation, there's so much diversity of music and creative performing arts taking place in our lives that we who may have used to attend all 30 subscription concerts have too many opportunities, and we're spreading ourselves thin. so i actually believe it's about growing audiences, not just about younger audiences. you do have to worry about who's in the pipeline. are there future audiences coming to whatever it is you do? and you need to build that through access, participation, exposure, arts education in school. but it's, the audiences are not necessarily getting older. in fact, in chicago the audiences, in the time that i was there, went from an average age of 63 to 49. so the it's about -- so it's
about how you talk about it, how welcoming you are, what the experience is like, what the experience is outside of the performance space as well as inside the performances space, how the artists communicate with the audience, how you respond and have a dynamic relationship with audience. the audience is there. i read a really wonderful, wonderful statement that was in a review of a concert recently, and it was a young woman who had never been to a concert before. and she made the statement that said it's much better to go to a live performance because in the live performance you have all the orr people, and -- the other people, and you're having that experience together. and that's the point. we can always listen at home or in other place, but it's about the shared experience of the live performance that is irreplaceable. and everybody knows that in the end. so i think it's about making sure we provide the invitation
to participation and that the experiences as present day and important to audiences. >> do you plan any outreach for elderly adults in such institutions as nursing homes or senior retirement homes? >> this is actually one of the unsung, untold stories of what institutions like ours are doing because sometimes good news doesn't get out. this is a great opportunity for me to make a pitch. good news doesn't always get told. but going into places where the individuals don't have the ability to get out into a concert hall of performance space is really important. it's also really important sometimes to provide the transportation to come in for
those free programs that do exist. and it's really important for us to honor those who have been attending for many years and then for whatever reason can't attend any longer. as i look at all of the programs that we have to offer, i am looking at where we may have gaps or where we may have be an overinvestment, and i look to calibrate those so that we everybody the very, the broad continuum from the first person who can fall in love with an art form at the youngest age to that individual who may need it more than those of us who can walk into a performance space to celebrate their life and their love of the performing arts. >> how will the kennedy center use its future outdoor video wall that is part of the planned extension by architect stephen hall. >> stay tuned? no, that's not a good enough
answer. [laughter] this is -- one of the great things about the work that a we're doing with stephen hull architects is that they are really pushing us to imagine the things that we haven't yet necessarily dreamed of. and, certainly, there are some great examples of simulcasts from inside theaters to outside walls like the one that is being designed, but i have in talking to my colleagues on the artistic programming staff at the kennedy center have a lot of really exciting ideas about all kinds of things that can be filmed up there or opportunities for improvisational dance in front of beautiful backdrops or opportunities for performances to take place that are sort of spontaneous as well as the ones that might be a film series or a simulcast from the theater or a rebroadcast of a program. but it gives us huge flexibility to do all kinds of new things.
it's really exciting. >> what's the future of the millennium stage? >> well, that a's a really great -- that's a really great question. the millennium stage is 14-plus years old now, and it was new and innovative, and when i heard that it was being announced, i thought how in the world are they going to have 365 days of performances. lo and behold, they have 365 days of performances. it's really impressive. and you can see it in the moment or you can see it on our web site. so that's really great. as with anything that's innovative and new as is with art forms that are hundreds of years old, it needs to continue to grow and evolve, and we don't have any specific plans. it will, we will still always offer that programming, that free programming every single day. but as we have a new expansion to the the south campus, we're likely to have new formats for
the millennium stage as well. >> today is the last day of hispanic heritage month, yet the kennedy center honors has only recognized four hispanics in its history and none this year according to this questioner. how do you feel about the recognition of diverse the city in the honors? -- diversity in the honors? >> as much as i would like to recognize that the honors is probably the most known event that takes place at the kennedy center, at least around the country, throughout the country and the be world, i would like to reinforce also the fact that we do so much programming at the kennedy center. and i was trying to share just a tidbit of that here with you today. and the programming that we offer so diverse, and i -- and
it's even greater than i ever knew as somebody who's, i thought, was paying attention to what was going on in the arts, especially in the nation's capital. but it is a very symbolic thing, to receive a kennedy center honor. and that's why the process was changed a couple of years ago. and an artistic committee that is highly revered and recognized for its role in the arts, its diversity and -- its art form and its diversity and background. i think that we can continue to refine that process, and while certainly we don't want to be dealing with quotas or have to do this or must to that, i believe that the symbolic nature of the honors is really important. and i look to continuing that and strengthening that into the future.
>> do you feel cultural diplomacy is a tool that could be utilized more effectively, and if so, then what role do you envision the kennedy center playing in this international arena? >> ultimately, first of all, i think you all have heard me say that the arguments are a way of communication -- the arts are a way of communicating with one another in a way that words can't. so i think that the performing arts and art, the visual arts, are a way for us to understand one another in ways that politicians, elected officials, individuals and groups who have strong positions may not be able to do so well. when you sit side by side and you make music together or you
perform together in a theater group, you build a rapport and a relationship that transcends any kind of conversation that you actually can ever have. so i think cultural diplomacy is really vital for us to explore. and for those of us who are in this world, for us to push forward and to support even greater than perhaps already has. i have had a really fabulous opportunity to tour the chicago, with the chicago symphony orchestra around the world, and we have used a program that we call citizen musician as an opportunity to provide a forum for bringing people together. to going to nursing homes, to going to rehabilitation centers, orphanages, to help young musicians aspire and train to
become performers as well. and those perhaps are the most meaningful experiences that i had in all those years of touring and traveling to the great places with great concert halls around the world. so i really believe that cultural diplomacy maybe is not the right word for us to use, but as an act of giving back to think about citizenry and sharing artistry. and i think that if we can be a role model in offering that, the nso did this for a number of years through the american residency program, and they would go to those states that don't have as much music or a large orchestra is and those kinds of programs, and they would go out. the musicians would fan out into the state and go into schools and community centers and libraries and offer their programming. that is some of the most exciting ways in which artists can share their art with others. and i'd love to have us take an
even greater role in doing that. >> of course, one of the central missions of any arts executive these days is fundraising. do you find the fund raising environment more challenging in washington than in chicago? and what is your central pitch to prospective toe nors? [laughter] -- donors? you have a big audience. [laughter] >> sign on the dotted line. first of all, every city likes to think that it's easier to raise money somewhere else. [laughter] so in chicago they said, oh, it must have been so much easier to raise money in seattle because of all those high-tech people and all that new wealth, and in seattle they said, oh, you come from los angeles, and it's so large -- every city says the same. and washington says the same, oh, chicago, they're so philanthropic. and they are. and so is washington d.c.
and every city is, ultimately, very philanthropic to the degree that they can give. in the case of the kennedy center, we actually reach across the country and around the world which gives us a really great opportunity. because of our international programming and the reach of our performances. the most important pitch is the one i just gave you, i believe, which is that art is for life's sake, and without it our lives are nothing. they're nowhere near as interesting, it isn't a way in which we can communicate and share and come together. so in the end, it's about finding people who love the arts, who give back, who believe in sharing and who want to share their passion just as much as we who are administrators love to share the passion. and there's nothing so rewarding as seeing young people participating in the arts or seeing something that you didn't know could happen happen whether
it's on a dance stage or in the opera or with an orchestra. it's an incredibly rewarding act to give, to give to whatever you care about. but when you're giving to create art that has been shared with so many others, it's not just about your own pleasure, but it's about sharing that pleasure with so many others. it's an extraordinary feeling. >> how much interaction have you had so far with figures of the obama administration and on capitol hill, and how interested are they in the kennedy center's mission? >> i think, i think it was the first week on the job that i went to visit with valerie jarrett, and she has attended several activities with us, and she and her team have interacted with us quite actively. i've been on the hill a number of times already.
in fact, this afternoon i have a meeting with the secretary of education. it's important for me to have a relationship with everybody here and to make a personal contact and make a personal invitation even though there's active participation at the kennedy center through i performances and events, and we are really indebted to the obamas for their commitment, their ongoing commitment to the kennedy center and participation in so many ways. and this weekend we have the mark twain prize, and we'll have interaction with the bidens. so i'm feeling really good about it, thank you. >> what would be your best advice to young women arts administrators who one day want to run an arts organization as you have done?
>> nothing worth working for is worth it if you don't put in lots of energy, lots of commitment, lots of sweat. i have dedicated my life to this work, and it has reaped dividends beyond what i could ever have hoped for. it is work that requires a true commitment because it is not easy work. it looks glamorous, it sounds interesting, but you don't get as many rewards as you think you get along the way. but those stories, the young women in the detention center, the joy of walking into a theater and seeing hundreds of people enjoying something and you wonder, where did all these people come from? isn't this great? the joy of sharing is the motivation that takes you through every day. you just have to keep your nose up and keep going.
because you do feel like you're changing people's lives for the good, and that's the greatest reward that we could ever have for the hard work that it takes to do this. >> so far what has surprised you the most about washington in general and the kennedy center in particular? [laughter] >> well, you know, when you don't live here and you only come to visit for work, you don't know how beautiful this city is. you see the monuments, you see the museums, you see the kennedy center, you know about the river. you don't know how beautiful it is, and this city so beautiful. and people are so welcoming. and i don't mean that to sound like it's a bad surprise, but i just didn't know for sure until i got here. and it is, it is really, really a special place.
that said, it's really hard to find your way around the kennedy center -- [laughter] you know? those long hallways with the red, that's only the beginning of what it's like to work there. i can't tell you how many times i've found myself in the wrong place without the wrong access code. so it's still a little bit of an adventure for me. >> we're almost out of time, but before asking the last question, we have a couple of housekeeping matters to take care of. first of all, i'd like to remind you about our upcoming events and speakers. next monday, october 20th, we will have thomas perez, the secretary of labor. and the next day, on october 21, we'll have bob bowlsby, commissioner of the big ten conference. and on november 7, a few days from november 11th, veterans day, we will have robert mcdonald, the secretary of veterans affairs. next, i'd like to present our
guest with the traditional national press club mug as this is her debut at the national press club. it'll be her fist. but i -- first. but i hope you will come back to receive more as you give us progress reports and the progress, i'm sure, you will do. [applause] >> thank you. >> for our last question, we've had a few questioners ask the following: the statue, the bust of jfk in the kennedy center hallway, many feel, makes him look like he's had really bad skin. [laughter] is there anything you can do about that? is. [laughter] >> you're supposed to give me questions. good questions. [laughter] he has the craggy good looks, and i think that's how we're going to leave it. [laughter] [applause]
>> i was going to say, how about a round of applause for our speaker, but you did it spontaneously. [applause] thank you all for coming today. i'd also like to thank once again amy and nick for organizing this lunch. i give you credit for the intro, and i'd also like to thank national press club staff including its journalism institute and broadcast center for also facilitating and organizing today's event. and finally, here's a reminder that you can find more information about the national press club including upcoming lunches that we are just now finalizing for the rest of the year on our web site. and if you'd like to get a copy of today's program, as i'm sure many of you do, please check out our web site at www.press.org. thank you all. thank you again to our guest of honor. we are adjourned. [applause]
>> you're watching booktv on c-span2 with top nonfiction books and authors every weekend. booktv, television for serious readers. >> here are some programs to watch on booktv this weekend. we're live from the texas book festival in austin where we'll bring you numerous author talks and panel discussions. retired four-star general wesley clark comments on america's superpower status. linda -- [inaudible] remembers living paycheck to bay check and argues for the need to assist america's poor on "after words." and jack cash el takes a critical look at the obama administration as well as books about the women's moveme