By Della Hasselle
LOWER MANHATTAN — Two-time Oscar-nominated actor Edward Norton added a bit of glamour to the City Council's monthly meeting Wednesday, when he joined council members in honoring two New York City youth programs recently recognized by President Barack Obama.
The White House gave awards last month to 15 youth programs across the country for offering outstanding arts and humanities programs to young people — among them, Manhattan's Global Action Project and Brooklyn Culture Adventures Program. On Wednesday, the movie star and the City Council gave the organizations a hometown celebration of their achievement.
Norton, a member of the President's Committee on the Arts and the Humanities, said he was extremely proud to be honoring the organizations.
"You're helping New York continue to claim its place as the cultural capital of the world and of America, and show them that even our kids and teachers are the maddest, most dope, most wild, mad cat, excellent artists in all of America," he said during the ceremony at Emigrant Savings Bank on Chambers Street, where the council has been holding its monthly meetings while City Hall is under renovation.
Norton said that the awards, which were originally presented by Michelle Obama at the White House on Oct. 20, were evidence that the arts hold an important role in education.
"These programs on a national level really are proof positive that the arts is not just, you know, a bonus feature of our society," Norton said.
"It's an integral part of educational success," he added. "You're an inspiration to the whole country."