For the Counterculture
During the 20th century the United States emerged as the richest, most powerful nation in history. And yet the quality of its civic art — its community planning, institutional architecture, and public monuments — deteriorated to the point of catastrophe. Such a coincidence of unrivaled political and economic might with profound cultural dysfunction is unprecedented. At the dawn of a new century, the public is largely unaware that architects, sculptors, painters, and craftsmen can still play a vital role in the perpetuation of civilization through the creation of monumental works that symbolize our highest civic and spiritual ideals.
At the same time, however, a traditional artistic counterculture is emerging as the indispensable alternative to a postmodern, elitist culture that has reduced its works of "art" to a dependence on rarified discourse incomprehensible to ordinary people. Since 2002, THE NATIONAL CIVIC ART SOCIETY has nurtured this new counterculture, while challenging fashionable dogmas that have merely served the cause of ugliness. It has sponsored important lectures and symposia as well as exhibitions of painting, sculpture, and architectural drawing. It also has endeavored to bring the new counterculture to policy makers' attention. The Society will continue to seek the restoration of the classical tradition to its rightful primacy in our nation's capital, while promoting design that dignifies, rather than degrades, the various realms of human endeavor in city and suburb.
President Washington and Major L’Enfant envisioned a new capital where our nation’s noblest aspirations would find expression in classical architecture, painting, sculpture, and urban planning.
The National Civic Art Society is dedicated to the perpetuation of that vision in the city they created: Washington, D.C., every American’s second home town. Through exhibitions and other programs for the edification of artists, educators, policy makers, and the general public, the Society will both promote the collaboration of classical sculptors, painters, and architects and encourage patronage by the Federal government conducive to such collaboration. The Society will thereby lay the foundation for more beautiful and meaningful monuments, memorials, civic buildings, and public spaces, both in the nation’s capital and in the nation at large.