It is a pleasure to join all of you today to announce that the request for proposals for the Annenberg Arts Education Initiative have been released.
This marks an important step in the development of this initiative, indicating that the Center for Arts Education is up and running, and ready to administer this exciting grant.
And also that the Center is ready to start taking all of the fund-raising and planning efforts and translate them into educational opportunities for the children of New York.
When the Annenberg Foundation announced its challenge grant of $12 million, the idea was to bring together the public, private and non-profit sectors in an effort to initiate a meaningful arts education curriculum in New York City's public schools.
After all, New York City is the arts capital of the nation, and there are many opportunities in our city for careers in the arts.
But without meaningful education, our own public school children were missing the opportunity to become involved in this exciting and very rewarding area.
I think it's wonderful that Beverly Sills is joining us today, and not just because I am such a big fan, but because Beverly is a product of New York City public education, and she went on to build an outstanding career in our city's cultural institutions.
As one of the greatest operatic divas of her generation, and now in her role as Chairman of the Board of the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, Beverly has exemplified the career path that we hope to create for today's public school students.
Through this program, we hope to teach children how to express themselves, and how to render impressions of their life and their world creatively and artistically. And whether a given child will ultimately have a career in the arts, or not, this is still a critically important element in the education of all children.
My administration has committed itself to improving the lives of our city's children. Chancellor Crew shares that same objective, and we are working very hard to improve the quality of New York City's public schools.
But it takes more than the Mayor, and more than the Chancellor... It takes everybody working together to make the positive changes that will help our children to enjoy bright and happy futures.
The Annenberg Foundation has been a wonderful partner in this process, and they have shared our vision of working cooperatively among all sectors of society to provide our children with the best possible educations.
Now, with the Center for Arts Education up and running, and with the commitment of all of these very talented people, I am sure that we will be seeing exciting, and promising new art education programs in our schools in the near future.
In closing, I would like to congratulate Laurie Tisch Sussman on her new role as Chair of the Center for Arts Education, and on behalf of all New Yorkers, I would like to thank the Annenberg Foundation, the Center for Arts Education, the United Federation of Teachers, and all of our many partners from the private and non-profit sectors for helping to build a better society in the future, by helping to better educate our city's children, today.