Works Progress Administration (WPA)

About

The New Deal was a program instituted by the US government under President Franklin Roosevelt from the mid-1930s to the early 1940s to revitalize the American economy in the midst of the Great Depression. Its goal was to introduce art and culture to a general public and foster a new awareness and appreciation for the arts among them. Part of the program put artists unemployed in the fine arts, theater, and music back to work creating for the public (this was the Public Works of Art Project [PWAP], succeeded by the Work Progress Administration [WPA]). Marking the first major patronage of the visual arts by the US government, these programs helped foster the early careers of artists like Mark Rothko, Jackson Pollock, Willem de Kooning, Lee Krasner, Arshile Gorky, Philip Guston, Thomas Hart Benton, Charles White, and Stuart Davis by commissioning them to produce accessible art, often posters or murals depicting scenes of American life, for government buildings across the country.