WPA Federal Art Project


WPA Federal Art Project

Extensive visual-arts project, part of the Works Progress Administration established by Franklin D. Roosevelt during the Great Depression. It employed artists with a wide range of experience and styles and had great influence on subsequent U.S. movements. At its peak in 1936, it provided work for more than 5,000 artists from relief rolls. Over the eight years of its existence, its employees produced 2,566 murals, more than 100,000 easel paintings, about 17,700 sculptures, and nearly 300,000 fine prints. The project also developed an audience by establishing more than 100 community art centres and galleries in regions where art was generally unknown. The total federal investment was about $35 million. It was the first major attempt at U.S. government patronage of the visual arts.

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