The Eye of the Beholder
The Federal Art Project (FAP), (1935-1943), provided jobs to 10,000 struggling artists. They created thousands of artworks, including roughly 2,500 murals that adorn many public buildings—city halls, schools, post offices—to this day. The FAP muralists were encouraged to depict American life and culture so as to inspire and promote a national identity. But the results were not without controversy. Then, as now, America was ideologically and culturally divided. FDR proclaimed public art as a hallmark of democracy. Nearly nine decades later, the meaning of art—and democracy—is in the eye of the beholder.