Public Works of Art Project

Public Works Of Art Project

Public Works of Art Project

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The Public Works of Art Project was a program to employ artists, as part of the New Deal, during the Great Depression. It was the first such program, running from December 1933 to June 1934. It was headed by Edward Bruce, under the United States Treasury Department and paid for by the Civil Works Administration.

San Francisco PWAP

The largest of the projects sponsored by the PWAP is the Coit Tower murals in San Francisco’s Coit Tower. This project was also largely controversial because of the strong influence of Diego Rivera in the city, and the interest of the PWAP to keep publicly sponsored art projects non-revolutionary. Among the artists selected to work on the mural were Victor Arnautoff, Jane Berlandina, Ray Boynton, Rinaldo Cuneo, William Hesthal, John Langley Howard, Otis Oldfield, Jose Moya del Pino, Ralph Stackpole, and Bernard Zakheim. During the painting of the murals, the Big Strike of 1934 shut down the Pacific Coast. Though it has been claimed that allusions to the event were subversively included in the murals by some of the artists, in fact the murals were largely completed before the strike began.

Griffith Observatory's Astronomers Monument

Another significant project funded by PWAP is the Astronomers Monument at Griffith Observatory in Los Angeles. The monument is a large outdoor concrete sculpture on the front lawn that pays homage to six of the greatest astronomers of all time:  Hipparchus (about 150 B.C.); Nicholas Copernicus......
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