Bruce Cole: Announces new NEH initiative ... Picturing America

Historians in the News

[Mr. Cole is the chairman of the NEH.]

... We will soon be formally announcing the pilot of a new project under the We the People banner titled Picturing America. This new initiative will open up another avenue of discovery and appreciation of our legacy, which stresses the importance of the visual arts in American history.

The major focus of Picturing America is to show that art speaks dynamically and forcefully about where a people have come from, what they have endured, and where they are headed. For example, we cannot imagine the history of Egypt without the pyramids, or of Italy during the Renaissance without the works of artistic giants such as Michelangelo and Leonardo da Vinci. What these cultures accomplished through their art significantly affects how we see and understand them.

The history of America is also illuminated by its art. American art tells a story that began even before the birth of our nation; and like our country, it has recorded and served as a catalyst for our diversity, continued growth, and change. The vision of Picturing America is to take this story directly to our youngest citizens—those students in the critical K–12 age-group—at a time in their lives when they are beginning to form judgments about our culture.....
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