Art During the Great Depression

A fascinating exhibition exploring art during the great depression in New York City explores the artistic and social impact of the time. While ordinary people were struggling to survive, many artists turned to illustration to create an escape from the hard times. This exhibition brings together some of the finest examples of this period’s work and offers an interesting look at creativity in an era of economic hardship. To read more about the exhibition, follow the link below. We hope you find it as intriguing and thought-provoking as we did.

The Great Depression had a profound impact on American art. The unemployment rate reached 25 percent in 1934, making it one of the worst years of the Depression. In order to get people back on their feet, many artists were hired by the government to create artworks for government buildings. The result: 15,663 paintings and drawings of government buildings. These works, however, were largely ignored or relegated to museums. But, as the artists began to find more jobs, the Depression shaped their art.

The New Deal created many projects to help artists survive. One such initiative was the Treasury Relief Art Project, which hired artists to decorate government buildings. This program employed 440 unemployed artists off the unemployment register, and their work was displayed in public buildings such as post offices and small buildings. In 1937, the government expanded its work relief programs to include artists. The work relief projects lasted until 1938, and they helped create a thriving art scene in New York City.

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