The New Deal mural “Rural Arkansas” was painted for the historic Paris, Arkansas post office, where it still hangs today.
“Joseph Vorst was commissioned for $740 to create this 4’x13′ oil on canvas mural for Paris, Arkansas based on his winning entry in the 1939 48 States Competition. “The competition selected 48 winning artists to compose a mural for a each of the 48 continental states. Vorst’s initial composition for Rural Arkansas was rejected due to the town’s contention that it showed their community as both stereotyped and backward. Vorst thus redesigned his composition into the image that extolled the modern industries of Paris…The mural depicts the various industries of Paris. On the left is an image of a prize bull and cattle raising, behind this scene lies a coal mine, and in the center is a modern cotton gin. In the background on the right, workers are picking cotton and in the foreground they are bringing their bags to be weighted… Coal mining was the community’s principal industry by 1917, although the industry was abandoned in 1945. Cotton has been a consistent agricultural product of the area.”
http://www.uca.edu/cfac/art/murals/Pages/Murals/Paris/frame.htm "The New Deal: A 75th Anniversary Celebration." Kathryn Flynn with Richard Polese. Originally posted in the New Deal Art Registry: http://www.newdealartregistry.org/
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