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Michelle Obama, arts ambassador, to take Manhattan in a Met doubleheader

May 15, 2009 |  2:00 pm

MichelleObama The Obamas-for-the-arts bandwagon, launched in Washington with the first family's attendance at a Kennedy Center dance evening and hosting a White House cultural soiree this week in the East Room, is ready to roll outside the capital for the first time.

On Monday, Michelle Obama will be in New York City for a day with the Mets — and we're not talking baseball, as the National League East leaders will be hunkered down in Dodger Stadium, opening a series with our home team.

No, it's the Metropolitan Museum of Art by day, where the first lady is scheduled to help local school kids cut the ribbon for its newly renovated American Wing. Later, Obama will be at the Metropolitan Opera House for a gala evening kicking off American Ballet Theatre's eight-week season at the Met. She and other attendees will see ABT principal dancers perform highlights from the season's ballets, with a guest turn by jazz pianist Herbie Hancock and a performance by would-be professional students from ABT's Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis School.

So, will the Obamas be coming by to show commensurate love for the SoCal arts scene? If our local impresarios aren't averse to putting on the hard sell, they can follow the lead of this year's graduating seniors of UC Merced. They lobbied with a video plea and letter-writing campaign for the first lady to be the keynote speaker at their commencement and — voila! — she'll be on campus tomorrow, doing the honors.

 — Mike Boehm

 Photo: Michelle Obama applauds during a February address to Congress by her husband. Credit: Ron Edmonds/Associated Press