Welcome and Introduction

Our country has seen a debate in recent years over the propriety of whether the arts could and should prosper in a modern and open Democratic society, and just what role, if any, the public sector should play.

Those who will articulate this subject are Mr. Robert Hughes, Congresswoman Louise Slaughter, Dr. Peter Marzio and Dr. Neil Harris.
Robert Hughes-Born in Australia in 1938, resident in the United States since 1970. Robert Hughes reaches a readership of 20 million people a week through his reviews in Time Magazine. He is the most widely-read art critic writing in the English language, a best-selling historian and one of the most popular art lecturers in America.

Congresswoman Louise Slaughter-serves in the United States House of Representatives in the 28th Congressional District of New York State. She has been described in the Washington Post as "one of the most powerful women in Congress". She has been a strong defender of federal initiatives and supporting the arts.

Dr. Peter Marzio-President and Director of Houston's Museum of Fine Arts, and is one of our country's most respected, knowledgeable and capable spokesman involving the arts. He is former Director of Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. and will be our moderator as well as the final speaker.

Dr. Neil Harris-Born in 1938 and received undergraduate degrees from Columbia College and Cambridge and gained his Ph.D. from Harvard. His interests center on the evolution of American culture, both high and popular, and has written on the history of American art and its various facets. He has lectured widely and has held lectureships at a series of universities and museums in this country and Europe. He currently serves on the Architecture and Education Committees at the Art Institute of Chicago.

Houston is most especially blessed to have dynamic and outstanding art institutions and ongoing programs. Our first evening at dinner will beat the recently opened Moore School of Music at the University of Houston with its magnificent Frank Stella murals. On Saturday evening we will be at the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston and you will be hearing more about the building now underway designed by Rafael Maneo but which will open in 2000.