Enough to Live On: Art from the WPA


Charles Turzak South of the Loop, ca. 1934 Woodcut Allocated by the  U.S. Government commissioned through the New Deal art projects 1934-2-46 © Charles Turzak
Charles Turzak, South of the Loop, ca. 1934. Woodcut. Allocated by the U.S. Government commissioned through the New Deal art projects 1934-2-46 © Charles Turzak


On view
Jan 27, 2017 to Apr 22, 2017
May 22, 2017 to Jul 8, 2017
Main Level, Gelvin Noel Gallery

Under the Works Progress Administration, the Federal Art Project (1935–1943) was the largest of the New Deal art programs and focused on all areas of the visual arts—including design, the fine arts, and art education.

In 1933, Franklin D. Roosevelt proposed the New Deal, a series of programs that sought recovery and reform from the Great Depression by creating jobs and aiding the unemployed with enough money to live on. 

Thousands of artists were commissioned by the government through the Federal Art Project to create public works that captured the state of the nation at that time, which resulted in prints disseminated throughout the country, hundreds of murals installed in various government buildings, and the creation of various community centers. This exhibition focuses on WPA works—prints, paintings, and sculptures—allocated from the federal government that are currently housed in the museum's permanent collection.

Curated by Kathryn Koca Polite

Sponsored in part by Fox Development Corporation and Fred and Donna Giertz

Provenance: A Forensic History of Art, installation at Krannert Art Museum, 2017.
  1. May 13, 2017 to Dec 8, 2018
Allen Stringfellow, Street Smarts II, ca. 1990s. Collage and watercolor on paper. Gift of John and Dorothy Gardner. 2014-8-1
  1. Aug 30, 2018 to Mar 23, 2019
Cuzco School (active Cuzco, Peru, 16th–18th century), Our Lady of the Remedies of La Paz, ca. 1750. Welcome Wall installation at Krannert Art Museum, 2018. Photo by Jessica L. Hung.
  1. Sep 12, 2018 to Dec 8, 2018
Welcome Wall
Kennedy Browne, Real World Harm (Act I), 2018. Still from 360º video for Oculus, 5 minutes. Courtesy of the artists © Kennedy Browne
  1. Oct 4, 2018 to Feb 9, 2019
John Clem Clarke (United States, b. 1937), Louis XIV, 1969. Lithograph on paper. Gift of George M. Irwin 1995-9-2.4
  1. Nov 2, 2018 to Dec 15, 2018
Response Wall