Ford Foundation President Luis Ubiñas started his opening keynote at our 2012 Annual Convention talking about about how he came to the arts. It was through free access in New York City. Having grown up with modest means, Ubiñas was only able to attend the finest cultural institutions that the city had to offer via free days.
In fact, he recounted one story when he was 14-years-old and went to The Public Theater to see Macbeth. However, he and has friend had arrived so early that they ran into founder Joe Papp who told them so, but also invited them to look around and explore his theater.
It was that kindness that stuck with him and shaped his appreciation for the arts. He reminded attendees that everyone in the room had similar experiences that shaped our attitudes about arts and culture and to never forget to provide those experiences to other 14-year-olds you stumble across in your work.
Beyond that personal anecdote, Ubiñas also talked about the economy behind the arts. During one passage he reminded the audience how important it is to explain to decision-makers at every level (city, county, state politicians, etc.) the value of the arts. He said all-too-often, it seems that they will fight to hard to bring a new manufacturing facility to their area due to the jobs it brings, but that doesn’t happen for the arts. And, as he said it doesn’t make sense because, “you can’t outsource a museum.” Read the rest of this entry »