Africa and the African Diaspora
Schomburg Treasures: WPA Artwork
Part of FDR's New Deal, the Works Progress/Projects Administration (WPA) was created in 1935 to provide paying jobs for the unemployed at every skill level. Workers built bridges, dams, roads, libraries, courthouses, schools, parks and gardens—and they created art.
The collection contains lithographs, etchings, and pastels showing allegorical scenes, cityscapes, portraits, etc., by Charles Alston, Nan Lurie, Riva Helfond, and others, many of which were produced at the Harlem Community Arts Center.
(The precursor to the WPA was the Public Works of Art Project, which commissioned another of the Schomburg's treasures: the Aaron Douglas murals. These are also on the website, and viewable in the Jean Blackwell Hutson Research & Reference Division.)