During the Great Depression, part of Roosevelt's New Deal included the Public Works of Art Project (1933-1934). The idea was to give artist workers jobs and assure the public better times were coming. Under the direction of the new agency, they oversaw the production of 15,660 works of art by 3,750 artists. These included 700 murals on public display.
The New Deal also allowed for the formation of the CCC (the Civilian Conservation Corp) which my Father was a part of, and the construction of federal buildings, such as courthouses, schools, libraries, post offices and other public structures, nationwide.
Post Office in Moline, Illinois
Starting in 1938, now called the Section of Fine Arts under the U.S. Treasury Department, more than 1,400 murals were commissioned for federal post office buildings in more than 1,300 cities across America.
Moline, the town where I grew up had one of those post office murals. To a child's eyes it seemed especially huge and intriguing. I remember staring up at it at in fascination every time we went to the P.O.
The paintings were to depict ordinary citizens in a realistic manner. Abstract and modern art styles were discouraged. Artists were also encouraged to produce works that would be appropriate to the communities where they were to be located and to avoid controversial subjects.
Is there a mural in a Post Office near you? Go here to find out......
List of Post Office Murals
More Pictures here...
“Located at the Moline post office is a mural entitled “Ploughshare Manufacturing” by Edward Millman. Created in 1937, this mural is an “egg tempera on gesso” …
Born in Chicago in 1907, Edward Millman attended the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and later became the chief illustrator for the Chicago Evening American. He is regarded as one the most productive Depression-era muralists in Illinois, creating post office murals in Decatur, Moline, and Chicago. The mural located in Moline–“Ploughshare Manufacturing”—has been described as “depict[ing] laborers…in a dramatic and dynamic scene where workers and machines almost struggle with each other”