The Eye of the Beholder

  The Eye of the Beholder The Federal Art Project (FAP), (1935-1943), provided jobs to 10,000 struggling artists. They created thousands of artworks, including roughly 2,500 murals that adorn many public buildings—city halls, schools, post offices—to this day. The FAP… read more


ACHIEVEMENT THROUGH ADVERSITY FDR was 39 years old when he was stricken with polio in 1921. Back then, people with disabilities were considered weak and unemployable. FDR’s opponents sought to exploit his inability to walk as a political vulnerability. He… read more


ART FOR ALL The idea behind the federal art programs was to provide work for struggling artists and foster the role of the arts in public life. Between 1933 and 1943, New Deal artists produced thousands of paintings, sculptures, prints,… read more

The Lungs of Our Land

The Lungs of Our Land In 1937, in a letter to the nation’s governors, President Franklin Roosevelt wrote: “Forests are the lungs of our land, purifying the air and giving fresh strength to our people.”Forests played a major part in… read more

Creativity and Conscience

Creativity and Conscience Congress funded the Federal Theatre Project primarily to provide jobs for unemployed theatre people during the Great Depression. But WPA administrator Harry Hopkins and the FTP’s dynamic director Hallie Flanagan had a much broader mission: to create… read more

America’s Portfolio

America’s Portfolio 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… read more

A Silver Lining

A Silver Lining 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… read more

It Can’t Happen Here?

It Can’t Happen Here? The nation was roiling from fear and discontent laid bare by the Great Depression. On the morning of FDR’s inauguration, March 4, 1933, Washington was braced for violence. Elected in a landslide, Roosevelt promised to make… read more

Dancing That Others May Walk

Dancing That Others May Walk As president, FDR used his birthday, January 30, to advance his most important cause—raising awareness and money to eliminate polio, a disease FDR knew first hand. In 1934, more than four thousand communities across the… read more

Building Back Better—Again

Building Back Better—Again Our New Deal ancestors found work, hope and resilience during the hardest of times. Even as they built the infrastructure that would underpin modern America, they studied the technologies and cultures of those who came before, as… read more