Posters for the People: Art of the WPA 1936-1943
September 14 – October 13, 2017
610 King of Prussia Road, Radnor, PA 19087
Gorevin Gallery, Holy Spirit Library
Admission is free, and all are welcome.
Opening Reception: Thursday, Sept. 14, 4:30–6:30pm
Curator Talk at 5pm
In the 1930s, the United States was in crisis. The economic system had collapsed and one-quarter of the country’s workforce was unemployed. In an effort to rebuild the nation, President Franklin D. Roosevelt launched a series of programs in 1933 called the “New Deal.” The largest agency of this recovery program, the Works Progress Administration, employed millions of jobless workers in an ambitious campaign to build roads, bridges and public buildings, and enhance community life through health, education, arts and culture.
The WPA Poster Division, which existed from 1936-1943, was charged with producing posters to raise awareness and promote a wide range of programs, activities, and behaviors that the Roosevelt administration believed would improve people’s lives. From roughly 500 artists hired throughout the life of the project, more than 35,000 designs were created and 2 million posters were produced and distributed.
With no centralized government record of this body of art, Posters for the People is a people’s initiative dedicated to building the most comprehensive record of posters created by the WPA artists. They have been brought together from public and private collections into a virtual archive that highlights the beauty and importance that WPA posters represent in our American social history.
The Posters for the People book and traveling exhibit highlight the most stunning designs and rare originals from this collection of work that connected the ideals of a nation with the everyday lives of its people.