September 22, 1981

Thank you very much. It's a pleasure for Nancy and myself to be here, to stop by and be able to see these beautiful paintings. This gallery is a tribute to something that I look forward to seeing improve in our country, and that is private initiative.

Duncan Phillips built this collection, and when he died, he left it for our enjoyment -- over 2,500 paintings, 200 of which are on display here at any one time while the others are circulated to museums and galleries throughout the United States. And thanks to Mr. Phillips' kindness, people from all over the world, since the museum opened in 1921, have come here to see this collection of American moderns and French impressionists.

It's often overlooked that Americans like Duncan Phillips who made money in steel, in that industry, have a keen interest in the arts. This particular museum was left an endowment to take care of its needs. However, inflation and other economic problems have taken a toll, and that's why we're all here tonight.

You are individually doing your part, making your contribution to art, and that's the kind of effort that's in keeping with the spirit that we're trying to recapture in these days. I met with a group of our citizens the other day, one of whom is involved in addition to his own particular career, in heading up some very worthwhile, nonprofit endeavor in the country. And I hope that we can stimulate that and see a great increase in that sort of thing. Personal involvement -- it makes this a better place to live.

I'm particularly proud of the role that Carolyn Deaver is playing to keep this gallery going. It's an admirable project, and I wish her and all of you the best, and just, I think on behalf of everyone in this country who wants to see things like this go on, to say a ``thank you'' to all of you.

And now I'll get off of here so the party can go on. [Laughter]

Note: The President spoke at 8:20 p.m. at the Gallery.