For Beauty and Grandeur in the World We Build

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Founded in 2002, the National Civic Art Society is a 501(c)3 nonprofit headquartered in Washington, D.C. that educates and empowers civic leaders in the promotion of public art and architecture worthy of our great Republic. As Winston Churchill said, "We shape our buildings, and thereafter our buildings shape us."

Alas, the recent trend in American civic design has been deplorable. To cite a few examples, the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial is a socialist-realist work that does not contain the words "God" or "reverend" a single time. The defeatist September 11 United Flight 93 Memorial fails to commemorate the heroism of the passengers in any form. A new federal courthouse looks like a disorienting alien spaceship; its architect admitted to a private group that he put symbolic guillotines over the judges' benches.

NCAS has come to national attention for leading the historic fight to stop Frank Gehry's ugly, grandiose design for the $150-million National Eisenhower Memorial. But for our efforts, the memorial would have already broken ground. The Washington Post reported that NCAS's advocacy "has received a remarkable amount of attention, offering talking points for ... columnists and critics." In the words of RealClearPolitics, we have "become go-to sources for criticisms about the memorial in papers like The Washington Post, New York Times, and The Daily Beast, largely through their sheer doggedness." A House Natural Resources Committee oversight investigation of the memorial extensively relied upon our research, and members of Congress quoted our criticisms of the design.

According to Allan Greenberg, architect of the diplomatic reception rooms at the U.S. Department of State, "When the National Civic Art Society began its Eisenhower Memorial fight, it was like Hans Brinker plugging a dyke all by himself with one finger. Now NCAS is well on its way to becoming a Washington powerhouse."

George Weigel, distinguished senior fellow of the Ethics and Public Policy Center, said about us, "The National Civic Art Society is doing essential work in restoring republican dignity and democratic purpose to the public architecture and design of Washington, D.C."

George Washington and Thomas Jefferson consciously chose the classical style to physically embody the new nation's form of government and political aspirations--architecture they intended to be a model for the entire country. The Founders understood that the classical tradition, harkening back to democratic Athens and republican Rome, is time-honored and timeless. It is unparalleled in its dignity, beauty, and harmony, not to mention its legibility to the common man.

NCAS advocates for beautiful, meaningful civic design that continues and expands upon the Founders' vision.


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