"Aesthetic Motive," Left panel detail
The James Baldwin School is one of several schools housed in the Bayard Rustin Educational Complex. When it was constructed in 1931, the whole campus was created as the Textile High School. Though fairly austere outside, the inside of the school was made more interesting by New Deal artists.
The lobby of what is now the James Baldwin School contains two, large stained glass windows, collectively titled “Aesthetic Motive.” Created by artist G. Gerard Recke in 1936 under the WPA Federal Art Project, the windows are composed of a variety of panels depicting, as one visitor puts it, “students learning grammar, music, math, history, and other subjects… [and] scenes from ancient Greek and Medieval legends. The phrase “Thou gavest thy good spirit to instruct them” runs along the bottom.”
Painted on all four walls of the same lobby are also a set of massive WPA murals.
We welcome contributions of additional information on any New Deal project site.SUBMIT MORE INFORMATION OR PHOTOGRAPHS FOR THIS SITE