I've always loved Macy's….such history…Herald Square….Miracle on 34th Street…It's the home of Santa Claus! And today, I have two more reasons to be a fan. This morning I was part of a check presentation during which Macy's donated $250,000 to one of my favorite charities – The Capuchin Food Pantries. I was honored to be asked to join Father Francis and Joe Sano at the presentation…i gave Macy's two versions of the Doodle I donated to the Food Pantries' recent fundraiser “Doodle for Hunger.” It was heart-warming to see the genuine spirit with which the funds were given. Did you know that there are more hungry to feed in NYC than there are residents of the city of Boston? That was one disheartening fact shared by Father Francis….but with organizations like the Capuchins, at least we can try to fight the hunger and give a little relief to those in need.
The second reason i'm a fan of Macy's today? Keith Haring's “Figure With Heart” balloon that will debut in the 2008 Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. The Macy's Parade Group began incorporating pop art icons into the parade three years ago. So far, balloons have been introduced based on the art of Tom Otterness and Jeff Koons. This year….Keith Haring. By including these balloons in the parade, Macy's is making a grand statement about the significance of fine art, and pop art in particular, in today's culture. It's a great step for artists all over the world – to be recognized on the world stage…in one of the most celebrated cultural events of the year! Macy's is bringing pop art to everyday people…the same people that pop art was created for in the first place.
The unfortunate news is how rare this type of recognition is for living artists today. Art is one of the forgotten pursuit in our culture today. The movies have the Oscar Awards; Broadway has the Tony's; music the GRAMMY Awards; television the Emmy awards…but where are the artists? Where is the event during which artists and the art community can celebrate their own? Artists are caught in an ironic world in which the definition of success is to “make it” once you've passed on….personally, I'd like to “make it” while i'm still alive. Macy's has talken one giant step towards legitimizing pop art and towards recognizing the achievements of some of our great contemporaries! I aspire to join them and I thank you Macy's!