Remarks Following a ``In Performance at the White House'' Concert

November 22, 1981

I hope you've enjoyed the program as much as we have here.

This concert and those that will follow bring the accomplished talents of master performers together with artists of the new generation waiting to be recognized. Together, they represent the best of mind and spirit that America has to offer. They add to our tradition of creativity and freedom.

The grand designs of soldiers and statesmen are often forgotten by history. More often than not, people are remembered for the quality of their ideas and the beauty of their art. We in this country have a cultural record to be proud of. Through private and voluntary contributions, the American people maintain more orchestras, more opera, more ballet, more nonprofit theater, more libraries and other cultural activities than all the rest of the world put together.

And, as Nancy said earlier, art is no stranger to our national house. Many who lived here have filled it with civilizing beauty. John Fitzgerald Kennedy, who died on this day 18 years ago, certainly did so. A month before his death, President Kennedy spoke of his vision for American culture. He said, ``I look forward to an America which will not be afraid of grace and beauty . . . which commands respect not only for its strength but for its civilization as well.''

As the White House Young Artist series demonstrates, the arts in America are rich, diverse, and growing -- a vital creative expression of our free society. American artists, like the ones we have seen tonight, guarantee that we will indeed be remembered for our civilization as well as for our strength.

Note: The President spoke at 5:59 p.m. in the East Room at the White House. The concert, featuring pianist Rudolph Serkin and violinist Ida Levin, and the President's remarks were filmed for later broadcast on the Public Broadcasting Service.