Plastics industry executive and professional magician Michael Smith is lobbying the U.S. House to declare magic as an art.
During the June 21-22 Plastics Industry Fly-In event in the nation's capital, Smith visited the Washington offices of congressmen including Republicans Duncan Hunter of Alpine, Calif., and Darrell Issa of Vista, Calif. Subsequently, Smith visited with Hunter at an in-district gathering.
Smith is asking Hunter, Issa and others to support House Resolution 642, with a goal to designate magic as “a rare and valuable art form and national treasure.”
Hunter, in whose district Smith lives, followed up with a letter, “You can rest assured that I will keep your thoughts firmly in mind should I have the opportunity to vote on this legislation.”
The Los Angeles-based Academy of Magical Arts Inc., operator of the Magic Castle, actively encourages support for the resolution.
“As a performing professional member of Hollywood's famed Magic Castle, I recognized early in my career to respect magic as an art and science and as a performer to share my talents enriching the lives of others and, just for a moment, suspending their disbelief,” Smith said.
Smith, 70, is president and CEO of injection molding press distributor L.K. Systems Inc. of Ladera Ranch, Calif. Parent firm Hong Kong-based L.K. Technology Holdings Ltd. manufactures the equipment in Ningbo and Shenzhen, China.
Smith's plastics industry career includes tenure with Industrial Molding Corp. of Torrance, Calif., Engel manufacturer representative Euro-Tec Inc. of Anaheim, Calif., and, from 1990-2008 still in southern California, Husky Injection Molding Systems Ltd. of Bolton, Ontario.
Smith was general manager for Husky's western U.S. region and then general manager for Husky national sales force development and best practices.
While semi-retired, he dealt with consulting assignments, gave motivational speeches, made magic presentations and pursued business writing opportunities.
In 2014, L.K. Technology Holdings recruited Smith to implement plans to expand its geographic market for injection molding equipment. Smith joined the firm in July 2014 and established the U.S. division.
Smith has held leadership roles with the Society of the Plastics Industry Inc.'s western region and related chapters and received SPI's 2001 Western Plastics Award for exceptional individual service.
On average, Smith gives six to 10 magic performances yearly. The efforts include corporate and customer events usually with keynote and motivational aspects. Charity events include those for alcohol-and-drug-abuse-prevention programs of the Hope Foundation and high school graduation night parties.
Private dinner parties pay for the service.
“Magic as an art is, in many cases, commercial and, therefore, to some degree it is already funded.” Smith said, noting the National Endowment for the Arts and some state and municipal grant programs could support public funding initiatives on behalf of magic.
Over 30 years, Smith has given more than 1,200 performances with about one-half pro bono and the remainder on paid assignments.
Regarding the pending House resolution, Smith exudes: “Magic goes big time!”
Motivational speaker and magician Eric Hogue, mayor of Wylie, Texas, initiated the effort to have the federal government officially recognize magic. Hogue's congressman, Republican U.S. Rep. Pete Sessions, introduced House Resolution 642 on March 14 with the goal to designate “magic as a rare and valuable art form and national treasure.”
So far, 14 other legislators have agreed to co-sponsor the resolution, which is pending in the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform.
A lengthy article in the May 2016 issue of Magic Magazine suggested, “The time to strike is now. David Copperfield has been tweeting out calls to action, and a website — https://hr642.com — has been set up to make it easy to sign a petition urging Congress to pass this resolution. We've long known that what we do has the ability to be elevated to art. Now it's time for the rest of the world to know it, too.”