Happy 40th, NEA!


Our favorite design director of a government organization, Jeff Speck, writes to remind us of his upcoming appearance commemorating the 40th anniversary of the National Endowment for the Arts. Seeing as it was one of most important change agents for modern design innovation, it was fascinating to learn that the original concept for the NEA did not include design! Speck gave us the low down:

“It was interesting for me to learn from Paul Spreiregen, the agency’s first design director, that the original enabling legislation for the Endowment did not include architecture or design in any form.

Fortunately, James Scheuer, a congressman from NY, saw this as an oversight. He asked Mr. Spreiregen to draft the colloquy to the legislation so that it would include design, and a very broad-based definition of design, including not just architecture but all the design arts, from graphic design through regional planning.”

Hear the rest of the story on November 20 at 12:30pm at the National Building Museum in DC, all details here, followed by that one lovely word we all like to hear: free.