[Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States: William J. Clinton (1997, Book II)]
[September 29, 1997]
[Pages 1266-1267]
[From the U.S. Government Publishing Office www.gpo.gov]

Message on the Observance of National Arts and Humanities Month, 1997
September 29, 1997

    America celebrates October as National Arts and Humanities Month to 
recognize the unique role that the arts and humanities play in the lives 
of our families, our communities, and our country.
    For more than 200 years, the arts and humanities have distinguished 
us as individuals and united us as a nation. The arts empower us to 
express ourselves and to understand and appreciate the expressions of 
others. Through the study of literature, history, and philosophy, we 
learn to build on the riches of our past to create a firm foundation for 
a better future. Together, the arts and humanities teach us to celebrate 
the cultural diversity unique to America, while transcending differences 
in race, ethnicity, age, or creed.
    Each day our world evolves further from our notion of the familiar, 
and we must adapt to its changing nature. In this challenging time, we 
look to our artists and scholars to inform our decisions and our 
actions. Musicians, actors, philosophers, playwrights, painters, 
writers, sculptors, dancers, and historians share with us their talent 
and training, inspiring our finest achievements and giving voice to our 
deepest aspirations.
    Because we discover our greatest possibilities through the 
exploration of the human spirit, we must encourage our young people to 
build on this cultural legacy and seek their highest potential in the 
arts and humanities. Children inspired by their own creative 
achievements excel in other areas of learning, developing the skills and 
the confidence to create better lives and brighter futures.
    As we observe National Arts and Humanities Month this year, let us 
reflect on the role of these vital pursuits in our individual lives and 
in the life of our democracy. Today, on the threshold of a new 
millennium, they are more essential than ever to the endurance of our 
values of tolerance, pluralism, and freedom; to our understanding of 
where we are and where we

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need to go. Let us remember that the arts and humanities are a 
necessity, not a luxury, and that every American deserves to have access 
to them. And let us resolve to sustain America's national commitment to 
the arts and humanities so that we may preserve for the generations to 
come the great artistic and intellectual life of our nation.

                                                            Bill Clinton

Note: This message was released by the Office of the Press Secretary on 
September 29.