San Francisco, California
London, United Kingdom
The National Civic Art Society cordially invites you to a briefing on the planned National Eisenhower Memorial. The briefing will cover the status of the imperiled design by Frank Gehry and the alternatives before Congress. The event will be in room 2247 of the Rayburn House Office Building. A box lunch will be provided.
Speakers will include:
The Hon. Bruce Cole is the former Chairman of the National Endowment of the Humanities, and a presidential appointee to the Eisenhower Memorial Commission.
Justin Shubow, President of the National Civic Art Society.
Catesby Leigh, author and art critic
Background: After 15 years and $40 million spent, the wildly unpopular design for the Eisenhower Memorial is on life support. Not a shovel of dirt has been turned, Congress zeroed all construction funding, and the National Capital Planning Commission denied preliminary approval. Most recently, the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Interior and Environment voted to effectively eliminate the proposal altogether.
Designed by the fashionable “starchitect” Frank Gehry, the plan been criticized from all sides — including the Eisenhower family (see John Eisenhower’s letter here) as well as by numerous members of Congress, pundits, and art critics of all political and artistic orientations (see compilation here). Opponents of the design believe that a more traditional design selected by an open, democratic competition would cost far less and be completed faster.
Projected Cost for the Eisenhower Memorial: $144 million — and threatens to rise.
Those Invited to Attend: Members of the House and Senate and upper-level staff with responsibilities in the arts, public lands, GSA, the Park Service, and related agencies. (No interns please.) Also welcome are: Members and staff of the National Capital Planning Commission, the U.S. Commission of Fine Arts, concerned citizens, and the media.
R.S.V.P.: here at Eventbrite as soon as possible. Call or email Fran Griffin at 703-255-2211 with any questions.
When & Where
The National Civic Art Society
Founded in 2002, the National Civic Art Society is a 501(c)(3) educational non-profit whose mission is to protect and advance a beautiful and meaningful American civic realm. We do this by educating about and promoting the classical tradition in architecture, urbanism, and their allied arts. That tradition -- originating in antiquity, developed in the Renaissance, and drawn upon by our Founding Fathers -- continues today in the work of artists, architects, and urbanists whose creations embody our nation's noblest aspirations.
Through our programs and initiatives we assist these practitioners; guide decisionmakers, government agencies, and officials; and educate teachers, students and the general public in the preservation and creation of decorous public buildings, monuments, and spaces. While our mission is wide, our focus is on federal architecture and commemorative works, and in particular America's capital city, whose dignified classical buildings and plan were intended as a model for the entire nation.
We achieve our mission by:
- Providing expert guidance for appointments, commissions, patrons, and projects
- Educating via lectures, symposia, debates, exhibitions, and walking tours
- Organizing competitions, calls for plans and counter-proposals
- Publishing newsletters, articles, white papers, and online and social media
- 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.
- 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 to the U.S. Commission of Fine Arts (three times) and National Capital Planning Commission on the Eisenhower Memorial.
- Sponsored a panel discussion on "Monumental Fights: The Role of Memorials in Civic Life."
- Hosted a lecture series on "Art in the Republic."