American Arts Trust

American Treasures

An honor and title we bestow on those individual Artists, Craftspeople and Supporters who exemplify a creative discipline that is distinctly and uniquely American. We recognize their lifework and spotlight this work and their traditions. In a world that is so quickly going global, it is these Arts and Crafts — more than anything else--that keep us American.

The Blues, Tap, Design, Native American arts, Black-and-White Movies, Jazz, The American Song Book, Quilting, Baskets, Rug Weaving, Art Glass, Pottery, and other American Arts. Each is a particularly American expression of the human spirit. Even as they are a source of pride, however, they are in danger of extinction.

We honor those who understand that these precious gifts must be passed down to each generation, not in lecture halls, but from hand to hand. These arts define who we are as a people. They are the weft of the American tapestry. And if that weft is allowed, through neglect, to go into stasis and become brittle, then the tapestry that is America will surely disintegrate. American Arts Trust spotlights those who have worked and continue to work so hard to keep this tapestry alive and supple.

We will strive to keep these arts and crafts alive, by working with existing charities to aid artists in need and by creating a library for oral histories and documentaries. We will work with artists and other organizations to grant mentorships and scholarships and to support museums and educational institutions that hold these “living” gifts

These American-born Arts and Crafts belong to us.

Each American generation's birthright is to be able to draw on these traditions for their strength, beauty, peace and wisdom...

Proposal for documentary film to honor Vincent DeRosa

Vincent DeRosa, at 93, can look around him and find a loving family. He can look back at an astounding 400-year lineage and know that there has always been a musician named DeRosa. He can look forward with confidence that the sheer number of recordings he was part of for movies and television, as well as with individual artists, will never be surpassed, making him the most-recorded musician in US history. But, he cannot see a musician named DeRosa in front of him. He is the end of his line.

Vince DeRosa is a superlative session musician. You may not know the name but unless you lived under a rock from 1937 to 2005 you have heard, hummed along and fallen in love to this master of the brass’ French horn virtuosity. From the haunting horn solo in The Days of Wine and Roses, to Ella, to the best of Henry Mancini, to the Monkees, to Frank Zappa, to Rocky, to The Simpsons, to The Beatles and Frank Sinatra. Music, and the way it employs session musicians, has changed over the years and there has always been a pretty strict contract system, but DeRosa was so good and in such demand that he held multiple simultaneous exclusive contracts.

In the mold of Mr. Holland’s Opus, this documentary will blend highlights of the man’s life and interviews with composers and conductors whose lives and work Vince DeRosa has touched and changed. It will juxtapose his work with the life he could not share with his son. The closeness of their relationship will be clear, as will the hint of regret from the high school quarterback whose dad never got to see him play and the father who passed his gifts lovingly to those who were not his own. Featured throughout the film will be interviews with those he taught, closing with a final concert of DeRosa's “children" — proof that the musician's legacy lives on in several generations of horn players.

One of the songs on DeRosa’s list of recordings is Mason Williams’ A Gift of Song:
A gift of song is a gift of love
It falls to earth I know not where
But who receives a gift of Love
Must send it freely on its way

As I receive so let me give
And live with joy my whole life through
A gift of song is a gift of love
And now I’ve sung my song for you

How fitting for a life of great musicianship and dedicated teaching that has spread such gifts of love and joy. While his son plays stocks and bonds instead of Korngold and Newman, Vince’s students will pay his gifts forward. Movie scores are as unique an American genre as Hollywood's Movies. Therefore, American Arts Trust chooses Vince DeRosa as its first Living Treasure--in recognition of his contribution to the art form that elevates it and keeps it fresh, alive and vital for those that follow. To further honor him, a scholarship will be set up in his name.