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GSA Showcases New Deal Graphics in Traveling Exhibit

GSA #10218

March 7, 2006
Contact: Maryanne Beatty, (202) 501-1231

Washington, DC—The U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) today announced the opening of a traveling exhibit, The American Scene: Graphics from the New Deal, which will provide the American public with an opportunity to see original artwork from the Graphics Division of the Federal Art Project (FAP) of the Works Progress Administration (WPA).

This exhibit will highlight over 30 prints, etchings, and lithographs, and three sculptures from the FAP/WPA. The exhibit will open in Bristol, Rhode Island, on March 8, 2006, at Roger Williams University, School of Architecture, Art and Historic Preservation.

The Great Depression of the 1930s brought a deflation, not only of incomes, but also of hope. The "New Deal" programs of President Franklin D. Roosevelt offered federal relief, recovery, and reform, and restored the confidence and optimism of the American people.

As we approach the 75th anniversary of the New Deal, it is important to remember that this was also a unique period of federal patronage of the visual arts, a legacy that is proudly continued today by the U.S. General Services Administration, said David Winstead, Commissioner of GSA's Public Buildings Service. The Federal Property and Administrative Services Act of 1949 established GSA, and included in the mandate was the stewardship of the portable artworks created under the federal government's New Deal art projects.

The Graphics Division of the FAP fostered high production and new techniques in printmaking processes, such as silkscreen, which allowed the use of color. Graphic artists saw the medium as a means of raising American cultural literacy by making fine art more accessible. Their work encompassed the American Scene, an anti-modernist movement that embraced rurally-oriented regionalism and urban and political social realism. This exhibit offers a view of this unique period of federal patronage of the arts.

The exhibit will remain in Rhode Island until April 3, 2006, and will then travel to other schools of art and public venues in the United States. For more information on GSA's Fine Arts Program, visit


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Last Reviewed 2010-04-30