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For Immediate Release
Office of the First Lady
April 3, 2002

Mrs. Bush's Remarks at the Laura W. Bush Endowment for Education and Outreach Donor Recognition
As Delivered
Austin Museum of Art
Austin, Texas

Thank you very much, Regan, and thanks, also, for your friendship and your leadership on behalf of the Laura W. Bush Endowment for Education and Outreach and thanks very much to each of you for your support for the AMOA.

The Endowment, will provide operating funds for a wide range of educational initiatives in the Austin Museum of Art's permanent facility. And that means children will have more opportunities to experience the arts. Specifically, your support of this endowment means that:

School classes can visit the Museum throughout the school year (four times), with bus transportation provided and with tours led by docents;

Writers and artists will be a part of children's art education, helping young people create prose and poetry to record their museum experiences;

Children will have resources such as catalogues and gallery guides, and teachers will have training materials;

College and graduate-school students can participate in internship programs;

And children will enjoy performances of poetry and music, special readings, storytelling, and hands-on workshops at the museum.

These are just a few examples of what your generosity will mean to students in Central Texas.

Art education allows children to enjoy life, to explore their talents -- whether it be coloring, painting, sculpting, drawing, writing -- or anything else they love. The arts have the unique ability to instill discipline and self-esteem and provide positive outlets for self- expression.

When we were in El Salvador recently, I visited a group of children who were in an art therapy program at their art museum. The program was designed to help them recover from the trauma of a devastating earthquake. Each child had such a special story; and I found, as I suppose any parent might find, that what children cannot express in words, they can draw.

I saw at first very sad pictures of the events that were locked in the minds-eyes of these children who suffered their own tragedies. But even more touching were the pictures they drew after a tragedy in a country thousands of miles from El Salvador, the tragedy of September 11th in America. The children sent me home with a large bound book and a message to share their pictures with the children of the United States to help them cope with the trauma.

Thanks to your support, this endowment will help the children of Central Texas express their feelings and share their life experiences in positive and constructive ways.

I believe we, at every stage of our lives, have something to give or gain in the appreciation of art. When we give something to the arts -- as students, artists, teachers, enthusiasts, collectors or patrons -- we contribute something vital not only to the arts and museums, but also to ourselves and to each other.

The Austin Museum of Art has a long-standing commitment to providing young people with arts education, and President Bush and I applaud your support of that commitment. Thank you all very much.

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