Altering the face and the heart of America

The Arts in the Small CommunityAs a counterpoint and antidote to my post yesterday on the dark and difficult side of creative placemaking, I felt compelled to share the bold and brighter side. From the astounding mind, mission, and vision of Robert E. Gard in 1969:

If you try, what may you expect?
First a community
Welded through art to a new consciousness of self:
A new being, perhaps a new appearance –
A people proud
Of achievements which lift them through the creative
Above the ordinary –
A new opportunity for children
To find exciting experiences in art
And to carry this excitement on
Throughout their lives –
A mixing of peoples and backgrounds
Through art; a new view
Of hope for mankind and an elevation
Of man – not degradation.
New values for individual and community
Life, and a sense
That here, in our place
We are contributing to the maturity
Of a great nation.
If you try, you can indeed
Alter the face and the heart
Of America.

from The Arts in the Small Community: A National Plan, by Robert E. Gard et al, 1969, p. 98
[both the commemorative original edition and the 2006 revised edition are available online].