WPA artist painting pulpit in chapel, La Purísima Mission State Park - Lompoc CA
As part of the New Deal reconstruction of Mission La Purisima, the Federal Arts Project (FAP) of the Works Progress Administration (WPA) was asked to send in professional painters to finish the interior of the buildings.
In 1938, FAP artists were employed in painting the pulpit and railing in the chapel of the padres’ residence building, under the supervision of Douglas Parshall of Santa Barbara (Savage, p. 151).
in 1940, artist Harry Hemle got the job of decorating the interior of the completed church. Hemle painted the walls, alter decorations and pulpit, with the assistance of two Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) enrollees working on the mission restoration. The Index of American Art group in Los Angeles had worked out the decorations from paint fragments and archival research (Savage, p. 151).
Sculptor and wood carver Harold Gebhardt, was also brought to the mission in 1940 to recreate the statuary in the church.
Christine Savage, New Deal Adobe: The Civilian Conservation Corps and the Reconstruction of Mission La Purísima, 1934-1942. Santa Barbara: Fithian Press, 1991.
Project originally submitted by Richard Walker on March 16, 2021.
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