Speech on Capitol Hill

Delivered the following address at a 2008 congressional reception at the U.S. House Office Building in Washington D.C. In support of the Americans for the Arts/Art Institutes’ Poster Design Competition.


To chase a dream is courageous. To chase a dream in the arts could be considered insane. Any young person who has dared to see themselves as a visionary of the future…an agent of change…as someone who will shape the way you and I receive information, deliver information, analyze, synthesize and visualize information has at some point felt completely overwhelmed at the sheer possibilities of what can lie ahead. Possibilities that you or I cannot even begin to imagine.

You see – these are people who say “yes” when the rest of the world says no. These are people who do their best work when the rest of the world is asleep. They are people who are looking up when too many of us are looking down. They notice the way people react. The way people move, laugh, cry, rise up and fall down. They notice the way the sky moves behind the city and they notice the buttons on your shirt.

The value of the scholarship is really measured in the message that it supports. That we need to do whatever we can to help knock down the obstacles, clear the trees and present new opportunities. The more opportunities we present, the more young people today will rise to the challenge.

Like Alexa Malone, every scholarship winner has made a conscious decision to prove to the world that – if given a chance, they can make a difference in our lives. That – in some way, somewhere – they will carry the torch and influence the many. But it is not just the winners, it is everyone who has ever walked out on that proverbial limb and has taken a chance. Without them, we would be nowhere.

So I thank everyone involved in this competition for having the faith to let young artists, designers and creative individuals take their shot.

And from all that I have seen, you will be amazed.