Remarks by Ambassador Pettit at Art in Embassies/PAO Welcome Reception

September 20, 2016

Augsti godātie viesi un draugi, man ir patiess gods būt šovakar šeit – Sveicam!
[Distinguished guests and friends, I am truly honored to stand before you tonight – Welcome!]

I am thrilled to share with you tonight the official opening of the “Art in Embassies” exhibit at my new residence.

For over 50 years the U.S. Department of State’s office of Art in Embassies has been sharing American art with the world through temporary and permanent exhibitions, artist programming, and publications. Now with over 200 venues, “Art in Embassy” exhibitions – which celebrate contemporary art – are found in all U.S. embassies, consulates, and ambassadors’ residences worldwide. Art in Embassies is present in more countries than any other U.S. Foundation or arts organization.

One of our best painters Jackson Pollock once noted – “Every good painter paints what he is.” This particular exhibition is a reflection of who I am and my own American experience. It includes echoes of my hometown – Long Island, New York – its waters, its coasts, its light, and its colors. Joseph O’Neill’s photograph of the Montauk Lighthouse on Long Island marks a place close to my heart.
It is where I spent my honeymoon – and Jim and I just celebrated 35 years of marriage this past week.

It is an exhibit that also reflects our mutual connection to the sea – both as Latvians and Americans. The sea and our coasts are for both our nations the backbone of our history. And the sea, our ports, and our waters remain just as vital today as they were at the start of our histories. It is my hope that these works speak to all of you of our shared links and the strength of our shared values.

It is an honor to have one of the artists of the exhibit here with us tonight – Margery Amdur. Margery graciously agreed to visit Riga and spend a week conducting workshops and programs throughout the country. The programs will focus on Latvia’s art students with the hope of inspiring a future Mark Rothko or Raimonds Staprans.
Originally from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Margery received her B.F.A. from Carnegie-Mellon University and her M.F.A. from the University of Wisconsin in Madison. Margery has had over 60 solo and two-person exhibitions. Her international exhibitions include Turkey, Hungary, Poland, England, and Iceland. I’d like to ask Margery to say a few words.
Tonight, we are also welcoming our new Public Affairs Officer, Leslie Goodman. Leslie just celebrated ten years in the Foreign Service. This is her fifth diplomatic assignment.

She has served at the U.S. Consulate General in Lahore, Pakistan; the U.S. Embassy in Tbilisi, Georgia; and the U.S. Embassy in Caracas, Venezuela. Most recently, she was the Information Officer at the U.S. Embassy in Lima, Peru.

Prior to joining the Foreign Service, Leslie worked extensively in media and public relations in Miami, Florida – her hometown. We are very excited to have Leslie join the Embassy team as leader of our excellent Public Affairs Office.

Vēlreiz vēlos ikvienam no Jums pateikties, ka esiet šeit. Lai Jums visiem patīkams vakars. Paldies.
[Once again, I would like to thank all of you for being here. Have a wonderful evening. Thank you.]