Friday, July 10, 2015

Signs of the Time: Federal Art in NYC

Music Contest Poster, Estelle Levine, Artist, Federal Art Project, Library of Congress

During the Great Depression, the Works Progress Administration* (WPA) sponsored a variety of public programs designed to put people to work and to better society at large. The arts were particularly favored. Painters, dancers, photographers, musicians, writers, sculptors, actors, illustrators, et al, found a haven away from the down-and-out economy through a variety of programs that included the Federal Theatre Project, the Federal Art Project, the Federal Music Project, and the Federal Writers Project.

Over the course of just a few golden years, from about 1935 to 1939, in New York City, the work of those artists was visible everywhere, from the theater marquees advertising a production to posters displayed on the streets.