Albany County Public Library Mural – Laramie WY


“Youth and Ambition” by Virginia Pitman, was commissioned by the WPA and presently housed in Laramie, Wyoming’s Albany County Library.

“The painting is divided into several sections. One shows men in line to enter a factory. Another depicts scientists in the lab. Still another shows a group of shirtless miners striking the earth. The figures are muscular and project a sense of industry. “It’s optimistic,” Schultes said.”

Source notes

"Annals of Wyoming," by Wyoming State Historical Society. Volume 52, No. 2 (pg. 39).

Project originally submitted by Evan Kalish on June 9, 2017.

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


Location Info

310 S 8th St.
Laramie, WY 82070

Coordinates: 41.310322, -105.587859

2 comments on “Albany County Public Library Mural – Laramie WY

  1. Denver, Colorado was still a mountain town of just over 20,000 when Virginia Louise Stauter was born on September 5, 1913 to Ivan and Virginia Stauter. Her father owned the only card printing press west of the Mississippi, and her mother served as chief card designer, additionally applying floral designs to table china sold in Europe, all skills passed on to the young Virginia who would one day parlay them into a two year scholarship at Colorado Women’s College. By her early 20s her works had been included in exhibitions at the Denver Art Museum.
    At the age of 23 she eloped with Raymond William Pitman, enticed, according to her obituary, by, “his saxophone playing and lanky dancing”. After the Depression William would become a colloidal chemistry research engineer at the Hanford Works in Washington State. Richland was the town established nearby to house the many workers brought in to work there on WWII’s Manhattan Project. They had two children, Ramona and William. Husband William would in time gift Virginia a wheat farm outside Cheyenne, Wyoming.
    Moving beyond an artistic bias toward human subjects in her school years, Virginia by now began to concentrate on landscapes, and soon found herself president of Richland, Washington’s Allied Arts, initiating the first outdoor annual Summer Allied Arts Show in 1950. Active in local civic matters, she at one point was president of the Democratic Women’s Club.
    In her role as Richland Public School System art teacher and 10 years as Special Education teacher, Virginia brought a special passion to those in her charge. Her obituary describes an intense involvement with her “misfits”, and applauds her “unconventional teaching methods”.
    Husband Raymond died in 1977. She would never remarry.
    On the internet, Ms. Pitman’s highest profile involves her WPA-era painting, “Four Phases Of Labor” which, heavily damaged, was in the late 1970s on its way to a Laramie, Wyoming dumpster when art student Randall Hopkins recognized its probable connection to 1930s New Deal art programs, and offered to give it a home. Even his art professors failed to see the piece’s importance, and finding no interest anywhere, he stored it for nearly 30 years. In 2008 a relative of his at the Wyoming State Museum in Cheyenne agreed to have it examined, and realizing it truly was government property from that era, forwarded it to the GSA in Washington D.C. where it was fully restored and now hangs on permanent loan back at the State Museum in Cheyenne.
    Virginia Pitman died in Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital in Pasco, Washington on December 17, 1995 at age 82.

  2. I have added this picture to my blog about the WPA project in the depression era.
    The article you included was very interesting and adds to my desire to find out more about the project .
    The fact that the mural survived at all is a miracle.
    So many murals have been lost .

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