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A Century of Design

The U.S. Commission of Fine Arts, 1910–2010

May 15, 2010–July 18, 2010

Vaulted station concept for Metrorail, September 1967. This quick sketch, drawn during a CFA meeting by Commissioner Gordon Bunshaft, helped establish a cohesive design direction for Washington’s modern transit system. Courtesy U.S. Commission of Fine Arts.
Vaulted station concept for Metrorail, September 1967. This quick sketch, drawn during a CFA meeting by Commissioner Gordon Bunshaft, helped establish a cohesive design direction for Washington’s modern transit system. Courtesy U.S. Commission of Fine Arts.

The Commission of Fine Arts (CFA) was established 100 years ago to advise the President and Congress on the design of the national capital and our national symbols. Made up of seven presidential appointees, the commission has been closely involved in the physical design of Washington, D.C., and the country’s commemorative works. This includes the design of U.S. coins, medals, and military cemeteries to the realization of the National Mall as a memorial landscape and forum for political expression.

A Century of Design was made possible by the U.S. Commission of Fine Arts in celebration of its centennial. The exhibition explored how this design-focused federal agency shaped Washington, D.C., from memorials that commemorate our history and define our national identity to the public parks and projects that enhance the city and help make it a desirable place to live, work, and play.