New Mexico was especially hard hit during the Great Depression. New Deal programs were a windfall to hard luck towns and villages throughout the state. As a girl, Kathy Flynn took little notice of the New Deal’s presence in her hometown of Portales, New Mexico, though the tiny town held a courthouse, post office, schools and swimming pool all built by the New Deal. In the 1990s, as Deputy Secretary of State, Flynn began inventorying the lasting imprint of the New Deal in her home state. What she found led her to establish the National New Deal Preservation Association. The Santa Fe-based nonprofit, established in 1978, works to document and preserve artworks, writings, buildings, and environmental projects of the New Deal.
Flynn’s book, Public Art and Architecture in New Mexico, 1933-1945—A Guide to the New Deal Legacy, documents the New Deal’s footprint in ninety towns. Its 374 pages include four hundred schools built by the Works Progress Administration; camps, parks and monuments built by the Civilian Conservation Corps; and works by Hispanic, Native American, and Anglo artists who worked for the Federal Art Project, one of several programs that sustained artists, writers, and crafts persons during the Great Depression. The book contains 168 biographies of New Mexican artists along with more than a hundred photos of New Deal public artworks, including several discovered and restored by Flynn’s organization. To learn more: https://www.newdeallegacy.org
Posted by Susan Ives