Works Progress Administration (WPA) Art

Collection Data

The Works Progress Administration (WPA) Collection consists of works on paper, primarily lithographs and etchings, but also drawings and paintings created during the years 1935-1943. The purpose of the WPA program was to create paying jobs for the unemployed at every skill level. The WPA allowed many artists to work full time on their craft for the first time. Students were able to learn new skills, while other artists served as mentors and continued to advance techniques and innovate -- especially in the printmaking field. Most works were produced at the Harlem Arts Community Center in New York City. The WPA provided sophisticated equipment that supported the development of printmaking. The African American artist Dox Thrash developed a new lithographic technique, the Carbonrundum print, which contributed to the popularity of printmaking in the United States. Images from the collection include black sharecroppers, city scenes, unemployment lines, laborers, children in parks, industry, and social protests. Others also deal with social and racial issues like poverty and lynching.
United States. Works Progress Administration (Sponsor)
Dates / Origin
Date Created: 1935 - 1943 (Approximate)
Library locations
Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, Art and Artifacts Division
African Americans
Physical Description
Type of Resource
Still image
Accession number: PR numbers
Universal Unique Identifier (UUID): ab394b60-d4bc-0131-8bd5-58d385a7bbd0
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