Painting a Masterpiece: Posters of the WPA

The Works Progress Administration (WPA) was part of  President Franklin D. Roosevelt's package of government programs designed to put Americans to work during the Great Depression. What did the WPA accomplish?

1. The WPA built infrastructure for utility, beauty, and recreation. The WPA also had an "creative wing" that employed writers, artists, and actors.

2. The WPA recorded old folk songs, compiled important local and state histories, and published short scientific papers.

3. The American Guide Series was a set of travel guides that were made available to the public, and encouraged tourism.

4. The WPA also focused on building infrastructure projects, like Los Angeles' famous Griffith Observatory.

5. Locally, the WPA was employed to carry out the construction of a tower on top of Sleeping Giant State Park. The tower remains a landmark in Southern Connecticut to this day.

5. I've long been appreciative of FDR's New Deal, namely because of  it's cultural and physical legacy that is still detectable today. Outside of still existing physical structures, the WPA's legacy rests in posters: distinctly American, bold, and positive, these posters communicated important ideals, messages, and events to the public. These posters somehow stand taller than giants. Here's a selection of the best:

For more, visit the WPA poster website.

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