"I think that tragedy and comedy are so close. And that we’re so often laughing at moments that feel like complete failures and that sometimes laughter is the only way through something that’s really challenging. And I think that what we’re doing so often on stage is being really sincere in our efforts and failing. And I think that’s funny."
— Monica Bill Barnes
"We have to remember that our strength as a people runs deeper than our military might. It runs deeper than our GDP. It’s also about our values and our ideals that each generation is called to uphold and that each artist helps us better understand. And it’s also the capacity of the arts and the humanities to connect us to one another. In a nation as big as ours, as diverse as ours, as full of debate and consternation as it sometimes is, what the people we honor here today remind us of is the kernel of ourselves that connects to everyone else. It allows us to get out of ourselves, to see through somebody else’s eyes, to step in their shoes. What more vital ingredient is there for our democracy than that?"
— President Obama at the 2011 National Medals of Art ceremony
"Listen. Last night was a good night for liberals and for Democrats for very obvious reasons. But it was also, possibly, a good night for this country as a whole. Because in this country we have a two party system, in government. And the idea is supposed to be that the two sides both come up with ways to confront and fix the real problems facing our country. They both propose possible solutions to our real problems. And we debate between those possible solutions. And by the process of debate, we pick the best idea. That competition between good ideas, from both sides, about real problems in the real country should result in our country having better choices, better options, than if only one side is really working on the hard stuff. And if the Republican party, and the conservative movement, and the conservative media is stuck in a vacuum sealed, door locked, spin cycle of telling each other what makes them feel good, and denying the factual, lived truth of the world, then we are all deprived, as a nation, of the constructive debate between competing, feasible ideas about real problems."
— Rachel Maddow
"I like to see courage. I like to see a willingness to take a risk. I like to see attention to detail, but I also really like to see a kind of recklessness and a kind of freedom. I like to see trust. I like to see the dancer trusting themselves and also trusting me."
— Crystal Pite, Artistic Director of Kidd Pivot
"It doesn’t happen all at once," said the Skin Horse. "You become. It takes a long time. That’s why it doesn’t often happen to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or have to be carefully kept. Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose at the joints and very shabby. But these things don’t matter at all, because once you are Real you can’t be ugly, except to people who don’t understand."
— The Velveteen Rabbit