WASHINGTON – NEA Acting Chairman Joan Shigekawa and Blue Star Families CEO Kathy Roth-Douquet announced the fourth annual launch of Blue Star Museums, a collaboration among the National Endowment for the Arts, Blue Star Families, Department of Defense and 2,000 museums across America to offer free admission to the nation’s active-duty military personnel, including National Guard and Reserve, and their Families from Memorial Day to Labor Day 2013.
Leadership support has been provided by MetLife Foundation through Blue Star Families. The program provides Families an opportunity to enjoy the nation’s cultural heritage and learn more about their new communities after completing a military move. The complete list of participating museums is available at www.arts.gov/bluestarmuseums.
The launch of the program was recently announced at a press event at the Smithsonian American Art Museum in Washington. Elizabeth Broun, Margaret and Terry Stent director, Smithsonian American Art Museum, welcomed guests and distinguished speakers, including Roth-Douquet; Shigekawa; Commander Leslie Hull-Ryde, Department of Defense spokeswoman, Office of the Secretary of Defense; local military Families; and representatives from the more than 40 Washington-area Blue Star Museums. Following the remarks, participants joined a docent-led tour of modern and contemporary artworks on view in the Lincoln Gallery at the Smithsonian American Art Museum, which has been a Blue Star Museum since the program began in 2010.
“Blue Star Museums is a collaboration between the arts and military communities,” Shigekawa said.
“Our work with Blue Star Families and with more than 2,000 museums across the country ensures that we can reach out to military Families and thank them for their service and sacrifice.”
Roth-Douquet said military Families seem to look forward to the program.
“Blue Star Museums is something that service members and their Families look forward to every year, and we are thrilled with the continued growth of the program,” Roth-Douquet said. “Through this distinctive collaboration, service members and their Families can connect with our national treasures and enjoy an unparalleled opportunity to visit some of the country’s finest museums for free.”
United States Senator Jack Reed – Rhode Island, a former Army Ranger and chairman of the Appropriations Subcommittee on the Interior, which oversees federal funding for the arts, said he commends the supporting organizations and museums.
“I salute the NEA, Blue Star Families and participating museums around the country for opening their doors to military Families and spearheading this effort,” he said. “This initiative will help provide valuable educational and cultural opportunities for our service members and their Families.”
Military Families are front and center at the launch event for 2013 Blue Star Museums at the Smithsonian American Art Museum. Also pictured are NEA Chairman Joan Shigekawa, far left, and, from left to right, Blue Star Families CEO Kathy Roth-Douquet; Elizabeth Broun, Margaret and Terry Stent director, Smithsonian American Art Museum; Commander Leslie Hull-Ryde, DoD spokeswoman, Office of the Secretary of Defense; and Sheri Robey-Lapan, Blue Star Families. (James Kegley | NEA)