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New Deal History: Revisited & Revised

News items that discuss and rethink the New Deal and its impact on America.

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  • The Forest Theatre, Expressive Landscape, and the New Deal at UNC Chapel Hill
    • April 17, 2017
    The New Deal, more than any other federal infrastructure or works project in the history of the United States, provided national support for the development of new work in the arts. The New Deal was also unique to the extent that it focused on localized projects, showcasing the particularities of ...
  • Working Together
    • February 10, 2017
    With good reason, histories of the New Deal have emphasized the failure of its programs to overcome the traditional barriers of race, ethnicity, and gender in American life. The New Deal revolutionized many aspects of US society and politics, but not its racial order. Indeed, some of the New Deal’s hallmark achievements rested squarely on ...
  • A Never-Finished New Deal Project Gets Its Due
    • February 2, 2017
    From 1936 to 1942, 400 artists in 36 states, operating under the auspices of the Federal Art Project, fanned out into the American countryside to paint the everyday objects they found there. The result—18,527 watercolors of furniture, clothing, ceramics, quilts, and more—was intended to be published in the Index of ...
  • Uncovering California’s New Deal Art
    • January 19, 2017
    A daring exhibition at the University of Santa Clara in 1976 began the rediscovery of a buried civilization then itself only forty years in the past. "New Deal Art: California,” a six-month exhibition at the De Saisset Gallery, pulled out of storage surviving works of New Deal art while pointing to others long ...
  • Dacre F. Boulton: The Rediscovery of a New Deal Artist
    • January 18, 2017
    When I work on my blog, “New Deal of the Day,” I sometimes use New Deal artwork images available on the website of the Smithsonian American Art Museum. Recently, I came across two paintings by Dacre F. Boulton. The first, “Winter,” is a great image for the frigid weather we’re ...
  • A Cosmopolitan New Deal
    • October 25, 2016
    The muralists of the New Deal are often perceived as being provincial and isolationist because their works celebrate "American values," and depict a nation that is often rural, in a figurative style. Yet, many artists were internationally-minded and their realism was far from prosaic. They sought inspiration from various pictorial traditions: 19th ...
  • Discover a Forgotten New Deal Photographer in SF
    • October 10, 2016
    An unknown elder of American landscape photography, George Alexander Grant (pictured) was the first Chief Photographer of the National Park Service. Though his iconic images inspired millions of Americans to visit their national parks, Grant is largely unknown because his images were simply credited "National Park Service." Ren and Helen Davis's ...
  • Douglas Brinkley on FDR’s Environmentalism
    • September 21, 2016
    We’re very excited about all the buzz surrounding Douglas Brinkley’s Rightful Heritage: Franklin D. Roosevelt and the Land of America. (In fact, Gray Brechin is reviewing it for our Fall 2016 newsletter.) In a recent edition of the Saturday Evening Post, Brinkley provided a refresher on FDR’s conservationism and environmentalism, centering on ...
  • San Francisco Zoo Artworks a Legacy of WPA Women
    • July 27, 2016
    Designed by noted architect George W. Kelham and completed in 1925, the Mothers Building was for years a refuge for women and their children visiting the San Francisco Zoo. The mosaics and murals— all by women artists hired by the Works Progress Administration— were added between 1934 and 1938. “Saint Francis—” ...
  • New Deal Smiles
    • July 25, 2016
    If you read the news with any regularity, you know that many working Americans are fed up. They’re fed up with stagnant wages, oppressive student loan debt, and trade deals that whittle away at their economic well-being. U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren has said, “People feel like the system is rigged ...
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