By Paul Bedard, Washington Whispers
One of the biggest construction booms ever is taking place under the State Department's guidance and now Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is seeking help in decorating some of those 38 new embassies and other offices with art that helps tell the American story. [Read 10 Things You Didn't Know About Hillary Clinton.]
Breaking from last night's nuclear summit talks to address a group that privately funds art donations to the State Department, Clinton said that there some 50 public spaces around the globe in embassies and other U.S. facilities that need some dressing up, as does the new U.S. mission to the United Nations. Talking about how she's been to many U.S. embassies over the years, she said that the artwork helps reveal the American spirit and story without taking a political stand. And, she added to the donors and artists that make up the Foundation for Art and Preservation in Embassies, "you're just brightening up the day of some of our people around the world."
FAPE has been around since 1986 to get the works of 186 artists placed in facilities in 140 countries. The art is donated by the artists and FAPE provides the money to pay for the fabrication and installation. At last night's dinner in the ornate Benjamin Franklin Room at State there were several prominent artists in attendance including Chuck Close and Ellsworth Kelly.
While Clinton did not stay for the FAPE dinner at State to honor New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg's art philanthropy, she did stay long enough to give him the Leonore and Walter Annenberg Award for Diplomacy through the Arts designed by Kelly before returning to the nuclear talks. "We can't ever have too many New Yorkers in Washington," she kidded.