When the royal Hindu Majapahit Empire fled Java and founded their colony in Bali in 1343 they took two groups with them: 1. the priests 2. the artists Why did the artists matter? So that their culture could survive. Culture and history are a few reasons art mattered then and still matters now. And art matters because we live in a conceptual economy requiring innovation. Innovation is born of imagination developed through emotional artistic expression, not only math and science. A perfect example of artist turned innovator is Steve Jobs, a college drop out whose main course of study was calligraphy and who was smitten with the Japanese Zen aesthetic so beautifully reflected in Apple’s products and retail design. Art also saves lives. As a troubled teen I was able to channel my feelings into my art. If I had not had this outlet I am certain my troubles would have led to self-destructive behavior. Instead, through art I maintained self-discipline and a positive focus. I just had the honor of speaking with Taboo of The Black Eyed Peas at Little Kids Rock’s10 Year Anniversary Gala at Face Book’s new headquarters. We talked about the vital importance of music and art. Regardless of whether or not students become rock stars or nationally recognized artists, if they can command the stage they can command the boardroom, and if they can conceive of a painting they can imagine products and ideas and bring them into physical form. And here’s another interesting statistic, kids who play an instrument are 52% more likely to go to college. I am very proud to call Michael Fernandez, co-founder of Little Kids Rock, my friend and I am honored and privileged to have him as an active member of the Ann Rea, Inc. Advisory Board. Millions of kids in the US receive no music or art education at school. Little Kids Rock provides free instruments and lessons to kids in low-income communities and teaches kids the musical styles they love. I urge you to support Little Kids Rock.