Skip to main content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.
MNHS Library Custom Header

WPA Art Project: Overview

Overview

The Work Progress Administration (WPA) was one of the "alphabet agencies" of the New Deal, the broad sweeping social and economic experiment created by executive order of President Franklin D. Roosevelt in his first term in office during the Great Depression of the 1930s. It included a construction unit and three other agencies: the Federal Art Project, the Federal Writers' Project, and the Federal Theater Project.

Minnesota artists worked on several publicly funded art programs, including the Public Works of Art Project (1933-1934) and the WPA Federal Art Project (1935-1943). Under these programs, artists were paid to produce paintings, prints, murals, and sculptures for display in public buildings. They worked in naturalistic styles and chose familiar subjects-cityscapes, farm scenes, people at work and play-to create a portrait of Minnesota life in the 1930s. Among the prominent and prolific artists who participated in the projects were Clement Haupers, Miriam Ibling, and Syd Fossum.

Research Options

Related Research Guides & Webpages

Guide Author

MNHS Reference Staff

Gale Family Library • Minnesota Historical Society • 345 W. Kellogg Blvd., St. Paul, MN 55102-1906 • 651-259-3300
Tuesday: 9am to 8pm • Wed. to Sat.: 9am to 4pm • Sunday & Monday: Closed • Holiday Hours