Evander Childs High School Mural – Bronx NY

Project type: Art, Murals
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Description

An enormous mural called The Evolution of Western Civilization is located in the library of the former Evander Childs High School. The Federal Arts Project (FAP) of the Works Progress Administration (WPA) commissioned the mural cycle in 1935 and it was completed in 1938. It is true fresco, rather than a painting, and covers 1,400 square feet.   (http://newdeal.feri.org)

A film made by the WPA depicts the creation of the mural by artist James Michael Newell, aided by students at the high school. It can be viewed on the Living New Deal video page.

The murals have generated significant controversy over the years, as discussed in the sources below.

The school building predates the New Deal and, like more and more large schools in New York and around the country, it has been divided into six smaller schools and renamed the Evander Childs Educational Complex (or Campus).  Or, as one source puts it, the school “has been chopped up into mini-‘excellence academies’ by billionaires and hedge-fund managers.”   (www.kermit.org)

Source notes

Cohen, Michelle, Program Director, Public Art for Public schools,Controversy in Context: A Reassessment of James Michael Newell's Evolution of Western Civilization     
Evander Childs High School Murals, www.kermitproject.org
Evander Childs HS, Lehman Art Gallery.
Public Art for Public Schools, NYC Department of Education, schools.nyc.gov.
New Deal, Public Art for Public Schools, NYC Department of Education, schools.nyc.gov.
James Michael Newell, Wikipedia.
Works Progress Administration Federal Art Project, “We Work Again” (video, 2009).

Additional project information contributed by Frank da Cruz.

Project originally submitted by Evan Kalish on January 25, 2015.

We welcome contributions of additional information on any New Deal project site.

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Location Info


800 East Gun Hill Road
Bronx, NY 10467

Coordinates: 40.875107, -73.861652

4 comments on “Evander Childs High School Mural – Bronx NY

  1. Mr. Santoro

    I went to Evander Childs HS this month (July 2017) to see the Newell mural in the library. I was told by a guard at the entrance of the school that it had been removed. Is this true? If so, where is it located?

  2. Not true. I work there and it is still there. The security guards are ghetto and know nothing.

  3. Tom Caruso

    I thought that my Dad mentioned a mural by Joseph Mastromateo at Evander Childs. He graduated in 1937. Do you know of murals other than the “Evolution”?

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