Art of the New Deal: Influence of New Deal Art Programs on Art in North Carolina

UNCP Author/Contributor (non-UNCP co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Lora Sue Tinsley (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Pembroke (UNCP )
Web Site:
Ann Horton-Lopez

Abstract: This research examines the historic precedent established during the depression era by federal patronage of the arts. From 1933 to 1943 the country became the recipient of first-rate art at reduced prices and artists received support that allowed them to survive while continuing to sharpen their skills. Government patronage benefited the economy, the unemployed, and the needy artist. This historical overview includes a study of the various government programs and the art centers established to encourage growth in the arts. A variety of all types of arts, including visual arts, literature, theater, music and architectural projects, raised public understanding and appreciation of the arts. Considerations requisite to making this determination included an in depth study of the WPA programs; the Public Works of Art Project (PWAP), the Treasury Section (The Section), the Treasury Relief Art Project (TRAP), and the Work Progress Administration Federal Art Project (WPA/FAP). The descriptive nature of this study required interviews with current property owners, archival owners and local postmasters. Investigative research entailed photography of data, maintenance of field notes for verification of data, personal observations and interpretations including investigation of the physical locations of murals and sculpture. Interviews and observations uncovered data leading to consideration of the physical environment including: which works were moved or covered, present day conditions of the paintings and sculpture, and documentation of those endangered by deteriorating conditions of their current locations.The expressed goal of the WPA art programs was "to unite artists and society through participation in the Arts" (Contreras, 1983, p.18). Findings confirmed forty-four post offices in North Carolina received murals or sculptures created by New Deal artists. Museums were established within the state including the North Carolina Museum of Art. With the establishment in Raleigh of the first art center in the nation, art instruction expanded within state universities, art centers, and public schools. North Carolina universities also established art programs designed to provide art instruction to those with an interest in art as well as to future teachers who were expected to present visual art instruction in the public schools.

Additional Information

Language: English
Date: 2002
New Deal, Depression, First-rate Art, Government Art Programs, Art, Public Works of Art Project, Treasury Section, Treasury Relief Art Project, Work Progress Administration Federal Art Project

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