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Art in a Day's Work

February 6 – April 5, 2014

Art in a Day’s Work features more than 40 artworks, primarily prints, created during the Great Depression and the early 1940s. During the Depression, President Franklin D. Roosevelt sought to provide work for 3 million Americans through the Works Progress Administration (WPA), founded in 1935. The WPA offered work to musicians, actors, writers, and artists under a subdivision called the Federal Art Project (FAP), which paid artists a salary to produce art about contemporary life. It is no coincidence that these artists found sympathy with laborers during their time with the FAP, as they too had to clock in and work regular hours in their studios. The WPA dissolved in 1943 as the focus of the country shifted to World War II. By then, labor became a patriotic pursuit. Every American was called to do their part for the war effort, and the artwork produced reflected this shift. Women in particular answered the call to enter the workforce and fill traditionally male jobsNorman Rockwell’s Rosie the Riveter embodies both the entrance of women into the work force and the new patriotic emphasis on labor.