A Silver Lining

The Fireside—News and Views from The Living New Deal

A Silver Lining

 “Mercury,” 1939

“Mercury,” 1939
Bas Relief, by Peter Paul Ott for the Kedzie-Grace Post Office, Chicago
Courtesy, New Deal Art Registry

With the economy in shambles and one in four workers unemployed, FDR appointed Harry Hopkins to come up with programs to provide relief. Public works projects would provide millions of jobs and become the backbone of the economic recovery. Hopkins recognized that artists, too, needed work. “Hell,” he said, “they’ve got to eat just like other people!”
The WPA’s Federal Arts Project hired thousands of visual artists to produce paintings, murals, prints, crafts and sculptures for the government buildings being constructed throughout the country. The Federal Music Project and Federal Theater Project hired thousands more, bringing the performing arts to cities and towns, alike. The Great Depression cast a dark cloud over the nation. The New Deal arts programs were the silver lining.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

New Deal Maps

Check out our latest map and guide to the work of the New Deal in Washington, D.C. It includes 500 New Deal sites in the District alone, highlighting 34 notable sites, and includes an inset map of the area around the National Mall which can be used for self-guided walking tours.

Take a look at our previous guides, equally comprehensive, covering key New Deal sites in San Francisco and New York City.