I was in my studio yesterday and unbeknownst to me, one block away, Michelle Obama was outside dediciating the new Whitney Museum of American Art. She praised its outreach to the community during a ribbon-cutting ceremony at the museum’s new Meatpacking District home Thursday and said she “fell in love” with the Renzo Piano -designed building.
“This is the most beautiful freight elevator I’ve ever ridden on. Just about every space in this museum is magnificent.”
The $422-million building in the Meatpacking District opens to the public this morning. The Whitney’s old building on the Upper East Side will house the Metropolitan Museum of Art‘s contemporary collection. The First Lady said that many young people in America look at museums and other cultural institutions…
“and they think to themselves, ‘Well, that’s not a place for me, for someone who looks like me, for someone who comes from my neighborhood’…. and growing up on the South Side of Chicago, I was one of those kids myself. So I know that feeling of not belonging in a place like this.”
Mrs. Obama said the Whitney is sending a message of inclusion not just with its art but with its educational programs:
“You’re reaching out to kids from all backgrounds, exposing them to the arts, showing them that they have something to contribute.”