"When I received my NEA fellowship, something most unlikely-seeming dawned on me: the republic and the citizens thereof, now had an investment in me, or not in me, but in art, and they had willingly made that investment. They were acknowledging the importance of art to the country. I didn’t know then that virtually every Western nation supports the arts far more generously than ours; I didn’t know then how important NEA support was to the arts far and wide across the land. But that fellowship taught me a lesson in citizenship, which is this: a nation’s political and cultural health may be judged by the health of its arts. Thanks to the sheer dollar-for-dollar efficiency of the NEA, our arts are healthy. The NEA is one of the greatest bargains of our country’s 241 years."