DECEMBER 1, 1953
NEW YORK, Monday—I was very much interested the other day to see that Mr. Charles R. Howell, member of Congress from New Jersey, had introduced last May a bill "to provide for the establishment of a national war memorial arts commission and for other purposes." The idea back of this bill is of course to promote all the arts and in this particular case the sum of money asked as an appropriation is big enough to actually do something worthwhile.
There is a provision for a national war memorial theatre and opera house in Washington which would certainly be welcome, since the national capital has never had adequate facilities.
In the bill there is a provision that this building "shall be available without charge to any Federal, state, county or municipal agency or authority as well as to any accredited non-profit college or university, any other non-profit organization, and to foreign organizations, groups or individuals for the presentation of professional, amateur and fine arts productions and program."
Of course permission must be granted by the director for the performances. It is permissible to charge admission so that an organization would be able to cover its expenses.
This would mean that in our national capital we could probably present many worthwhile artistic programs from other areas of the world. There are many other features of course to this bill which I cannot cover here but I am sure that all those who are interested in art in any of its phases will be grateful for the effort Mr. Howell is making.
Slowly we are coming of age, for until a nation supports cultural programs one cannot say that it is really mature. It requires maturity to understand that a nation does not live by bread alone but by the things which feed the spirit as well.
It is a good warning that appears in one of our papers at this season when people's hearts are so easily touched. There was a time in the depression days when I think there was a good excuse for helping all people on the ground that though you might be fooled quite often, so many people were in want that it was impossible to examine into every case. Nowadays, however, we should not be tempted to give unless we know about the organization or the individuals to whom we give.
I was also amused to note that the names of those who are either in or out of the Social Register seem important enough to warrant a considerable amount of space in one of our papers. As a matter of fact, I think New York has grown too big to have such a thing as a Social Register. Really all that one needs is the telephone book. Then if you have a private number, you just expect your friends to keep you on a private list.