Founded in 2002, the National Civic Art Society is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization headquartered in Washington, D.C. that educates and empowers civic leaders in the promotion of public art and architecture worthy of our great Republic. We do this by advancing the classical tradition in architecture, urbanism, and their allied arts. Through our programs and initiatives we guide government agencies and officials; assist practitioners; and educate students and the general public in the preservation and creation of beautiful, dignified public buildings, monuments, and spaces. We are mindful of Winston Churchill’s assertion: “We shape our buildings; thereafter they shape us.”

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. The National Civic Art Society advocates for beautiful, meaningful civic design that continues and expands upon the Founders' vision.

The National Civic Art Society also concerns itself with architecture more broadly. We believe that contemporary architecture is by and large a failure. The public finds it ugly, strange, and off-putting. It has created a built environment that is degraded and dehumanizing. The reason for this failure is the ideology of architectural Modernism, which came to dominance after the Second World War. The National Civic Art Society endeavors to help architecture return to its pre-Modernist roots, particularly the forms, principles, and standards of the unparalleled classical tradition, and the humanistic architectural idioms that are derived from it.


Activities

We achieve our mission by:
 

Advising

on current and future building projects

Educating

via lectures, symposia, debates, exhibitions, and walking tours

Organizing

competitions, calls for plans and counter-proposals

 

Providing

expert guidance for appointments, commissions, patrons, and projects

Publishing

newsletters, articles, white papers, and online and social media

 

 

Highlights

 

  • Hosted a dialogue discussion on "Dramatic Cultural Change and the Future of Architecture" with Michael G. Imber and Duo Dickinson.

  • Hosted a lecture by historian Calder Loth on "Reconstructing Lost Architecture: A Commendable Tradition."

  • Hosted a panel on "New Urbanism and the Human Habitat: Beauty in the Natural and Built Environment" at the Philips Collection in Washington, D.C.

  • Organized an Eisenhower Memorial Counter-Competition with an award ceremony at the Rayburn House Office Building at which Susan Eisenhower, the president's granddaughter, delivered remarks.

  • Launched "Our Classical Heritage" series of walking tours of the nation's capital.

  • Published The Gehry Towers over Eisenhower: The National Civic Art Society Report on the Eisenhower Memorial, a 150-page critique of the Memorial's competition, design, and agency approval.

  • Testified to the U.S. House Subcommittee on Public Lands on "The Future of the National Mall."

  • Twice testified to the U.S. House Subcommittee on Public Lands on the Eisenhower Memorial.

  • Testified numerous times to the U.S. Commission of Fine Arts and National Capital Planning Commission on the Eisenhower Memorial.

  • Sponsored a panel discusion on "Monumental Fights: The Role of Memorials in Civic Life."

  • Hosted a lecture series on "Art in the Republic."