Works Progress Administration or the WPA (renamed Work Projects Administration in 1939) was an amazing relief program. Established in 1935 as part of the New Deal by the administration of Franklin Delano Roosevelt, the WPA was an ambitious federal jobs program created to provide blue collar and white collar jobs for the unemployed during the Great Depression. Work ranged from road construction to theatrical productions to research for the Library of Congress and the program employed millions of individuals. Artists such as Milton Avery, Stuart Davis, Willem de Kooning and Jackson Pollock were just a few of the thousands of artists in the program who have achieved international recognition.
In recent years however as budgets get cut the visual arts component of this historical program is slowly dwindling away. Currently The New York Landmarks Conservancy is working diligently with Congressman José E. Serrano to save Ben Shahn’s 13 WPA murals that decorate the public spaces of the landmarked United States Post Office-Bronx Central Annex at 560 Grand Concourse.
In the stacks:
The mural art of Ben Shahn : original cartoons, drawings, prints, and dated paintings, September 28-October 30, 1977 : a loan exhibition / organized by the Joe and Emily Lowe Art Gallery, Sims Hall, College of Visual and Performing Arts, Syracuse University – Special Collections — Exhibition Catalogs – Alphabetical by Artist – S
Ben Shahn’s New York : the photography of modern times / Deborah Martin Kao, Laura Katzman, Jenna Webster ; Fogg Art Museum, Harvard University, Cambridge – Main Stacks – TR820.5 .S4797 2000
Ben Shahn : New Deal artist in a cold war climate, 1947-1954 / Frances K. Pohl – Main Stacks – N6537.S5 P64 1989
Art for the millions; essays from the 1930s by artists and administrators of the WPA Federal Art Project, edited, and with an introd., by Francis V. O’Connor – Main Stacks – N8838.O25
Violins & shovels : the WPA arts projects / Milton Meltzer – Main Stacks – NX735.M44