First Lady Shows G-20 Spouses the Arts

By MichaelJames

Sep 25, 2009 6:22pm

ABC News' Yunji DeNies reports:

First lady Michelle Obama shared her passion for the arts with other first spouses from G-20 nations, showing her guests an eclectic mix of American classical and country music performances, along with works by students at the Pittsburgh Creative and Performing Arts School. 

Obama praised the Pittsburgh art school students, telling them, “You can literally say that the world is watching you all today.”

The G-20 spouses toured the school.  They then watched students sing and dance, and were treated to performances by cellist Yo-Yo Ma, and singers Trisha Yearwood and Sara Bareilles. 

She said Bareilles' music is among her favorites.

“I have to say, she is on my iPod," the first lady said. "She has gotten me through many a day with 'Gravity' and 'Love Song.'  I love her.”

Obama spoke about the impact arts can have in bringing the world together.

“The arts have the power to connect us to each other throughout nations,” she said, “We share our music, we share our dance, we share our culture — because it reminds us that our world here in America is not so distant from other cultures and worlds around the globe.”

Apparently, the performances made a strong impression on the first lady of France. 

Michelle Obama explained: “My good friend, Carla Sarkozy, said, 'You know, in America, you know, here you have people who can sing and they can dance and they can act. Now,' she said, 'in France it's not often that you get all of those wrapped in one.'  But she said there's something unique about America's talents where it's just so natural to see all of that talent on display.”

The first lady told the group she and President Obama believe the arts are “at the heart of our national life,” and that the core of her mission as first lady is to share the America’s rich cultural life with young people of all backgrounds.

“My husband and I are determined to help to bridge that distance,” she said. “We want to show these young people that they have a place in our world, in our museums, our theaters, our concert halls.  And most importantly, we want these people to know that they have a place in our White House. 

We want them to experience the richness of our nation's cultural heritage, one on one, up close and personal, not on TV," she added. "We want to show them that they can have a future in the arts community — whether it's a hobby, or a profession, or simply as an appreciative observer.”

FLOTUS Fashion Watch: The first lady wore a purple and black print dress by Zero, a line by designer Maria Comejo, and a black studded belt.

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