Department Of Interior
|Office of the Secretary
Contact: Isabel M. Benemelis
|For Immediate Release:September 24, 2003
Secretary Encourages Increased Visitation and Volunteerism on Public Lands at Hispanic Foundation for the Arts Annual Gala
(WASHINGTON) - Interior Secretary Gale A. Norton addressed the National Hispanic Foundation for the Arts (NHFA) seventh annual Gala on Tuesday evening. The event, hosted by NHFA co-founders Jimmy Smits, Sonia Braga and Esai Morales, was held at the Corcoran Gallery of Art.
Secretary Norton encouraged
more Hispanic Americans to visit the Department of the Interior's many
cultural, natural and historic sites and thanked NHFA for being one of
the first charter partners of Interior's Take Pride in America program.
The NHFA promotes a more modern portrayal of Latinos and provides scholarships
to students to achieve careers in the entertainment, telecommunications
and media industries.
"Whether filmed in one of Interior's picturesque national parks, lush refuges or other sites, the Department and the entertainment industry share a long history of cooperation," Secretary Norton said. "Hollywood's most modern and high-tech studio lots could not begin to emulate the majesty and the ruggedness or the beauty of America's natural vistas, and that scores of cinematic classics would not have enjoyed the same impact if not for the drama of their setting."
The Secretary cited the scene
in Alfred Hitchcock's North by Northwest, filmed at Mount Rushmore National
Park, and the chilling setting for the UFO landing in Steven Speilberg's
Close Encounters of the Third Kind, shot at Devils Tower National Monument
in Wyoming, as examples.
"Although it has been
taken for granted and is often overlooked, popular culture has always
showcased America's natural backdrop - the public lands that are so diligently
preserved by the Department of Interior," NHFA chairman and Co-Founder
Felix Sanchez said.
NHFA joined Interior's Take
Pride in America program this spring. Take Pride is a public lands volunteer
initiative that empowers volunteers from every corner of America to improve
parks, refuges, recreation areas and cultural and historical sites. "The
NHFA inspires young people to do great things - the same goal as Take
Pride in America Program," Secretary Norton said. "We can better
the nation's public lands and inspire a new generation to have pride in
Secretary Norton emphasized
the importance of increasing Hispanic visitation to National Parks and
historical sites. "Many Interior Department sites magnify the cultural
history of Hispanics and commemorate some of the most incredible achievements
and contributions by the nation's most prominent Hispanic citizens. The
Santa Fe Trail in New Mexico, Castillo de San Marco in Florida and the
Palo Alto Battlefield in Brownsville, TX, are just a few of these treasures."
For additional information
on historic sites visit: http://www.cr.nps.gov/nr/feature/hispanic/
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