Let me begin by thanking Governor Corbett and his wife the first lady Susan Corbett for this award but more importantly for their strong support for the arts in our Commonwealth. The governor and first lady both recognize the contributions that the arts make to both the quality of our lives but also to the economic health of our communities. I also want to acknowledge the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, a small state agency with a big impact on our state. Operating on a budget built with less than one dollar in annual tax revenue from each of our citizens few would question that the Arts Council is a good investment for Pennsylvania.
It is indeed an honor to share this stage with a special group of public-spirited citizens who I believe all share two significant passions. First we all love the arts and find our lives enriched by encounters at museums, at theaters, at concerts, at lectures and even on the streets of Philadelphia were some 3500 murals bring art to everyone in the city. And second we all believe that the arts help to build a civil society by presenting mankind at its most glorious moments when we are touched by the talent and insight of artists of every discipline who help us to explore and understand the world around us.
The arts are not the exclusive territory of any political party, or any one religion, or any
single race. The arts can have universal appeal and they are clearly a place where the one percent and the ninety nine percent, find common ground.
So many thanks to the citizens of Erie for hosting this event and making this a special evening for my fellow honorees and me. I will cherish the memory of this event and it will super charge my passion for the arts and my belief that the arts help built a civil society and a better world.