Page 6 - Arts Management Magazine Iss 1
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1963  “I have long believed...that the quality of America's
       cultural life is an element of immense importance
       in the scales by which our worth will ultimately
       be weighed.”

           President John F. Kennedy – June 10, 1963

      It was an exciting time. The personification of unbridled enthusiasm and the seeming immortality of youthful vigor,
      JFK made a nation feel proud to be American. Camelot was in full swing. A bright new future full of promise and
      limitless possibilities lay ahead. And the Arts were poised to take center stage and play an even bigger role.
      It was against this magical backdrop that two young men with vision and passion, Alvin Reiss and Alvin Toffler,
      combined forces to champion the Arts in America and launched Arts Management Magazine in 1962. Little did Reiss
      and Toffler know that this fledgling publication would influence the field of Arts management for the next half century.
      Likewise, President Kennedy was feeling passionate about the Arts when he appointed the White House’s first ever
      Cultural Adviser, August Heckscher, the son of a millionaire philanthropist and a contemporary of Reiss and Toffler.
      A graduate of both Yale and Harvard, Hecksher previously served as Arts Commissioner of the City of New York.
      As the newly appointed part-time Special Consultant on the Arts to President Kennedy, Hecksher worked to set up
      an advisory council on the Arts while preparing a special report for the president ultimately named "The Arts and the
      National Government." In the course of his research, Hecksher reached out to many prominent figures in the Arts such
      as Reiss and Toffler for assistance and input.
      Hecksher completed the report for President Kennedy on May 28, 1963. Unbeknownst yet to anyone but White House
      insiders, Hecksher had also tendered his resignation as he felt he had completed his assignment and was eager to see
      the Cultural Adviser role turn into a fulltime position.
      In his June 10, 1963 letter accepting Hecksher’s resignation, President Kennedy wrote,
      “I have long believed, as you know, that the quality of America's cultural life is an element of immense importance in the scales by which
      our worth will ultimately be weighed. Your report on ‘The Arts and the National Government’ opens up what I am confident will be a new and
      fruitful relationship between Government and the Arts. Government can never take over the role of patronage and support filled by private
      individuals and groups in our society. But Government surely has a significant part to play in helping establish the conditions under which art
      can flourish – in encouraging the arts as it encourages science and learning.”
      On June 17, 1963, the day that the White House officially released the ground-breaking report, Hecksher sent a copy
      of it personally to Reiss and Toffler with a letter from the White House expressing gratitude “for all that you .... have
      done” and wishing them “good luck in your work.”
      And work they did. Toffler went on to become the best-selling author of “Future Shock” and an internationally celebrated
      futurist and visionary. Reiss devoted himself to all aspects of the Arts and published Arts Management Magazine
      for the next 50 years until his recent passing. Toffler credited Reiss with “practically inventing the whole field of Arts
      Today, Reiss’s son Michael (author, musician, and a Billboard Critic’s Choice recording artist with songs
      featured on Sex in the City, The Soprano’s and NFL broadcasts) continues the tradition and mission of keeping
      the Arts center stage. To paraphrase JFK, America will in no small way be judged by our commit-
      ment to, and the quality of, our Arts programs. True then. True now. And to paraphrase JFK again,
      ask not what the Arts will do for you – ask what you will do for the Arts. Our hope is that each of
      us can find our own personal way to help the Arts grow and flourish, now and for the benefit of the
      generations to come.

                                       –Walter Timoshenko COO & EVP Creative Strategy, Arts Management Magazine

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