MARCH 19, 1956
NEW YORK, Sunday—Representative Frank Thompson Jr., of New Jersey, had an interesting article in the Congressional Record on March 12 about the National Gallery of Art, which celebrated its 15th anniversary. During the week of this celebration the gallery had a splendid exhibition of potential and outright gifts by Samuel H. Kress, Rush H. Kress and the Samuel H. Kress Foundation.
Andrew W. Mellon was the man who started what has become, under David E. Finley's directorship, "one of the greatest cultural monuments in the entire world." Congress has made an impressive contribution of more than a million dollars a year to the gallery's maintenance, so that the people of the country have a stake in the growth of this great cultural monument.
Representative Thompson makes a plea in his article for the advance of all our arts. He suggests that the Smithsonian Institution and the Board of Trustees of the National Gallery should rethink their position in regard to all American art and set aside some exhibit rooms in the gallery for the exclusive collection of fine arts. But it has not as yet been accomplished, and so this suggestion of Mr. Thompson's is of a temporary nature.
The National Gallery under Mr. Finley, who retires in July, has become the cultural center of the nation's capital. Much has been done for American composers by organization of the Sunday evening concerts under Richard Bales, conductor of the National Gallery orchestra. We need to do more in every field of art, however, and it is good to have Representative Thompson continuing his interest in the overall field of American art.
Recently a company called the Barton Warner Publications sent me a sample of a record they were putting out which they suggested might be sung all over this country and might considerably help to change the feeling amongst some of our people. It is called "Created Equal" and the first four lines read:
created equal regardless of race, creed or color;
One God made us all, so don't let our nation fall,
And just remember, we are all created equal."
Perhaps that is a good thought to play on a record as we start out on our day's work.