In 1929, the worst
economic downturn in US history occurred and it is
known as the Great Depression. It lasted
until the year 1939.The Great Depression left many people without money and jobs,
so a work program called the Work Project Administration(WPA) was started to
help the unemployed. The WPA was created in
the year 1935 under U.S President Franklin D. Roosevelts New Deal. The program
went on for 8 years and gave work to as many as 8.5 million Americans. The
Works Projects Administration did not only help create public works projects
but sponsored many projects in the arts.
agency helped with managing a group of programs which was known as Federal Project
Number One. The program employed thousands of writers, musicians, actors and many
other different artists. President Roosevelt wanted to put artist back to work
to not only entertain, but to inspire the rest of the country by creating a
more optimistic view of life during the very
hard economic times. Many forms of art were created at the time such as
motivational posters and paintings in the public buildings. Monuments were made
by sculptors, and artists and musicians were paid to entertain. The first lady
Eleanor Roosevelt had a lot of influence over the establishment of Federal One, and defended it against the people who felt
the arts were a waste of time and money(“Works Progress Administration”).
world-known American painter named
Jackson Pollock worked for WPA’s Federal Art Project, another part of Federal One.
Mr. Jackson Pollock started working as a mural assistant and then he later
became an easel painter between the year 1930 and 1942. Jackson Pollock was a
very influential person during the abstract expressionism movement, after World
War II. The Worker’s Project Administration
also employed other exploratory artists such as Mark Rothko, Lee Krasner, and
William de Kooning(WPA).
The WPA is greatly admired today for the work it had offered to millions of Americans during
the hard times of the Great Depression. Because
of the WPA, we have many well-designed roads, dams, schools, bridges and other
structures that we still use today.