America’s Portfolio

The Fireside—News and Views from The Living New Deal

America’s Portfolio

Artists of the Harlem Renaissance at 306 West 141st Street, New York City

Artists of the Harlem Renaissance at 306 West 141st Street, New York City
Back row, left to right: Add Bates; unidentified; James Yeargans; Vertis Hayes; Charles Alston; Sollace Glenn; unidentified; Elba Lightfoot; Selma Day; Ronald Joseph; Georgette Seabrooke; — Reid. Front row, left to right: Gwendolyn Knight; unidentified; Francisco Lord; unidentified; unidentified. Copyright The Jacob and Gwendolyn Lawrence Foundation, ARS, New York. Courtesy, Phillipscollection.org.

Between 1935 and 1943 the WPA’s Federal Art Project hired more than 10,000 artists on “relief.” They produced murals, easel paintings, sculpture, posters, photographs, theater sets and arts and crafts. Though many have been lost, FAP artworks can be still be found in schools, hospitals, libraries and other public buildings, and in museums around the world. Initially, few African-American artists were allowed to join the WPA’s programs. Black artists in New York City formed the Harlem Artists Guild (1935–41) and successfully pressured the WPA to hire an unprecedented number of Black artists.
WPA-funded art centers like the Harlem Community Art Center and “the 306” provided work space for artists and welcomed the public to exhibits and classes, bringing art and artists into the lives of everyday Americans.

 

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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.

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