Readings on Arts in Small Communities


The following publications are intimately connected to the Robert E. Gard Foundation.

  • Grassroots Theater : a search for regional arts in America / Robert Gard ; with a foreword by David H. gard-grassroots-theatre-bookcoverStevens ; and with an introduction by Maryo Gard Ewell. University of Wisconsin Press, 1955; reprinted Greenwood Press, 1978; reprinted University of Wisconsin Press, 1999. Reviewed by Philip Zwerling in Theatre Journal (December 2001)Grassroots Theater is available from University of Wisconsin Press.
  • American Indian Voices : a regional literary symposium, September 26-28, 1991. Sponsored by The Gard Wisconsin Idea Foundation and The Keland Endowment Fund of the Johnson Foundation. Wisconsin Academy of Sciences, Arts and Letters ; Gard Wisconsin Idea Foundation, 1992.
  • A National Plan For Arts in Small Communities developed by the Office of Community Arts Development-Wisconsin Idea Theatre. Prepared by Robert E. Gard
    [and others]. Office of Community Arts Development, University Extension, University of Wisconsin, 1970.
  • “Verdant Music” by composer Michael Torke. “Color music” [Sound recording] (Argo 433 071-2). [Score] Hendon Music ; Boosey & Hawkes, sole agents, c1986. First performance by the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra, Lukas Foss, conductor, Nov. 20-24, 1986. Commissioned by Robert E. Gard Wisconsin Idea Foundation.The score for “Verdant Music” was published by Hendon Music in 1986. Renamed “Green”, it was recorded by the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra on Argo 433 071-2 in 1991.


The following publications are in print/available as of 2016:

  • Gard, Robert E., with Ewell, Maryo Gard, editor, To Change The Face And Heart Of America: Selected Writings on the Arts and Communities 1949-1989.  Americans for the Arts, to be published in June 2016.  www.artsusa.org51-5770eebL._AC_UL320_SR214,320_
  • Gard, Robert E., The Robert E. Gard Reader, e-book, free download. This shows the many facets of Gard – beyond his community arts development work.
  • Gard, Robert E., Grassroots Theater: A Search for Regional Arts in America, University of Wisconsin Press1955.  Reprinted 1997.  Available in paperback and in e-pub version. This is Gard’s seminal publication in which he lays out his philosophy as he tells the story of his first ten years at the University of Wisconsin.
  • Gard, Robert E., and L.G. Sorden,  The Romance of Wisconsin Place Names, 1968. Second Edition, Wisconsin Historical Society Press, 2015. Gard’s love of Wisconsin and its communities is evident in this glossary of where the names of hundreds of Wisconsin communities originated.
  • Gard, Robert E., Michael Warlum, Ralph Kohlhoff, Kenneth Friou, Pauline Temkin, The Arts in the Small Community: A National Plan, University of Wisconsin Extension, 1969; free download  This book, based on a clear philosophy of respect for the creativity of all people as they build their communities, was the foundation of much community arts development work, especially in rural places.  In 2006 Michael Warlum and Maryo Gard Ewell created a new edition, also available as a free download. You may also purchase a hard copy for $10 at