Artsy New Deal

·1 min read

May 28—During the Great Depression, the United States wrestled with financial instability, political turmoil, and issues of racism and segregation. As part of his economic recovery plan, President Franklin D. Roosevelt established the Work Progress Administration (WPA), in 1935, to employ visual artists, writers, and theater professionals. Artists thrived under the WPA, but conservative lawmakers saw it as Communism, and the program was shut down amid controversy in 1942. In 1976, Orson Welles narrated a documentary about the WPA (directed by Wieland Schulz-Keil) that premiered on West German television. One of its most important revelations for contemporary viewers is that nothing is new about the country's current culture wars. The New Deal for Artists (not rated, 90 minutes) has been digitally remastered from 16mm negative and is screening in Virtual Cinema.