Legislative History

William H. Taft

President William Howard Taft signed the legislation to create the Commission of Fine Arts in May 1910, and Taft’s personal interest in the design of the national capital continued for decades. The inscription of the signed photograph reads: For the Commission of Fine Arts with great respect and earnest wishes / Washington Dec 4th 1918. Wm. H. Taft. (Image credit: CFA)

An Act Establishing a Commission of Fine Arts (CFA), May 17, 1910, ch. 243, 36 Stat. 371 (codified at 40 U.S.C. §§ 9101–9104 (2011)).

Executive Order 1259, October 25, 1910, 45 C.F.R § 2101(a)(1) (2011).

CFA review of public buildings in the District of Columbia proposed by the federal or District of Columbia governments established.

Executive Order 1862, November 28, 1913, 45 C.F.R. §§ 2101 (a)(1), 2101(f) (2011).

CFA review of new structures and matters of art proposed by the federal government in the District of Columbia established.

Executive Order 3524, July 18, 1921, 45 C.F.R. §§ 2101(a)(2), 2101(d) (2011).

CFA review of the design of medals, insignia, and coins produced by the federal government and the designs of statues, fountains, and monuments in the District of Columbia established.

American Battle Monuments Act of March 4, 1923, ch. 283, sec. 3, 42 Stat. 1509, 1510 (codified as amended at 36 U.S.C. § 2105(d) (2011)).

CFA review and approval of the design of memorials in American cemeteries outside the United States commemorating the service of American Armed Forces established.

Shipstead-Luce Act of May 16, 1930, ch. 291, sec. 1, 46 Stat. 366 (codified as amended at 40 U.S.C. § 8104 (2011)).

CFA review of plans for construction or alteration of private and semi-public buildings fronting or abutting certain public areas in Washington, D.C., established.

Buzzards Point Act, June 18, 1932, The Statutes at Large of the United States of America From December 1931 to March 1933,
vol. 47, part 1, ch. 269, pp. 322-324,
S. 4739.1; Public, No. 187.1,
Washington: United States Government Printing Office, 1933

Act of July 31, 1939, ch. 400, 53 Stat. 1144 (codified as amended at 40 U.S.C. § 8104 (2011))

Shipstead-Luce Act amended to include Lafayette Park within the geographic area of the Act’s jurisdiction. 

Old Georgetown Act of September 22, 1950, ch. 984, 64 Stat. 903 (codified at D.C. ST. §§ 6-1201–1204 (West) (2012)).

CFA review and approval of plans for construction, alteration, reconstruction, or razing of any building within a defined geographic area in Georgetown established.

National Capital Planning Act of July 19, 1952, ch. 949, 66 Stat. 781 (codified as amended at 40 U.S.C. §§ 8701 et seq. (2011)).

The National Capital Planning Commission created requiring CFA advice on selection of lands suitable for the development of the National Capital park, parkway, and playground system.

Act of September 2, 1957, sec 1(1), 71 Stat. 589 (codified at 10 U.S.C. § 4594 (2011)).

Provision of heraldic services by the Secretary of the Army authorized, with CFA advisory design review upon request established.

National Cultural Center Act of September 2, 1958, sec. 3, 72 Stat. 1698, 1699 (codified as amended at 20 U.S.C. § 76i (2011)).

The National Cultural Center within the Smithsonian Institution established requiring CFA approval of building plans and specifications.

Act of May 13, 1960, 74 Stat. 128 (codified as amended at 40 U.S.C. § 9104 (2011))

AN ACT To amend the Act relating to the Commission of Fine Arts.

Act of January 23, 1964, 78 Stat. 4 (codified as amended at 20 U.S.C. § 76i (2011)).

The National Cultural Center renamed John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts; CFA chairman named ex officio member of the board.

Executive Order 11145, March 7, 1964, 3 C.F.R. 1964–1965 Comp, 184.

A curator for the White House and a Committee for the Preservation of the White House, including participation by the CFA chairman, created.

National Foundation of the Arts and the Humanities Act of 1965, 79 Stat. 845, 851 (codified as amended at 20 U.S.C. §§ 951–960 (2011)).

The National Foundation for the Arts and Humanities with a Federal Council to advise the Foundation, including participation by the CFA chairman, created.

Arts and Artifacts Indemnity Act, December 20, 1975. 89 Stat. 844 (codified as amended at 20 U.S.C. §§ 971–976 (2011)). 

Indemnity agreements for loans of art on exhibition in the United States and elsewhere entered into by the Federal Council, including participation by the CFA chairman, authorized.

National Capital Memorials and Commemorative Works Act of November 14, 1986, 100 Stat. 3650 (codified as amended at 40 U.S.C. §§ 8901–8909 (2011)).

Standards for the placement of commemorative works on federal lands within the District of Columbia established; CFA approval of site and design proposals for commemorative works required.

Act of December 22, 1987, Title II, sec. 201, 101 Stat. 1329–214, 1329–250 (codified as amended at 20 U.S.C. §§ 956a (2011)). 

Administration of program (National Capital Arts and Cultural Affairs) to support artistic and cultural programs in the National Capital transferred from National Endowment for the Humanities to CFA.

Commemorative Works Clarification and Revision Act of 2003, November 17, 2003, Title II, secs. 201–206, 117 Stat. 1348, 1349 (codified as amended at 40 U.S.C. §§ 8901–8909 (2011)).

Definitions, siting, and design review processes, and other aspects of the CWA revised and clarified.

International Center Act, Public Law 90–553; 82 Stat. 958, as amended through P.L. 110–249, enacted June 26, 2008.

CFA review and approval of the height, appearance, color, and texture of the materials of new buildings constructed at the International Center.

Honoring America’s Veterans and Caring for Camp Lejeune Families Act of August 8, 2012, Title IV, sec. 604, 126 Stat. 1165, 1201.

CFA advisory role on the design of monuments in Arlington National Cemetery established.