SALLY D. FRANCISCO GALLERY
The exhibition gallery, named after our Founding Director Sally D. Francisco, is located on the 2nd floor of our Retail Gallery and hosts rotating, curated exhibits of fine craft. There is no charge for admission.
Posters for the People: Art of the WPA
April 8 - May 21
Opening Reception: Saturday, April 8 from 5-7pm; Gallery Talk at 5:30
In the 1930s, the United States was in crisis. The economic system had collapsed and one-quarter of the country’s workforce was unemployed. In an effort to rebuild the nation, President Franklin D. Roosevelt launched a series of programs in 1933 call the “New Deal.” The largest agency of this recovery program, the Works Progress Administration (WPA), employed millions of jobless workers in an ambitious campaign to build roads, bridges and public buildings, and enhance community life through health, education, arts and culture. The WPA Poster Division existed from 1936-1942 and was given the job of raising awareness and promoting programs, activities and values that the Roosevelt administration believed would improve people’s lives. From roughly 500 artists, more than 35,000 designs were created and 2 million posters produced.
Due to their ephemeral nature, many of these posters did not survive long. And because they were largely considered utilitarian objects, there was no centralized government record of this body of extraordinary American art and design. The Library of Congress retained a collection of 900 pieces – the largest physical collection of these posters – but, the majority of this public promotion went undocumented. Posters for the People is a people’s initiative dedicated to building the most comprehensive record of posters created by the WPA artists. The record of more than 1800 posters has been brought together from public and private collections into a virtual archive that highlights the beauty and importance that WPA posters represent in our American social history. Please visit www.PostersForThePeople.com to view the full virtual archive.
The Posters for the People exhibit is a collection of rare original WPA posters, artifacts, film and photographs from the 1930s & 40s. Original posters designed by Pennsylvania artists including Katherine Milhous and Robert Muchley are featured in the collection, along with more than a dozen other posters by unknown artists. The exhibit also includes reproductions of newly discovered, never-before-documented posters designed and produced in a Newark, NJ Poster Division office by artist Vincent Murphy. A newly designed poster for the Delaware Water Gap National Recreational Area, created in the style of WPA National Park posters will also be on display.
Posters for the People: Art in the Park is co-presented by Peters Valley School of Craft, Social Impact Studios and the Delaware Water Gap National Recreational Area as part of the centennial celebration of our national parks. Funded by the National Endowment for the Arts, this program highlights the beauty and importance of this public art initiative and brings it to light 80 years later.
Special accommodations can be made to view exhibitions in an alternate format. A gallery representative will assist visitors who may require accommodations by providing alternatives such as digital, auditory and or sensory presentation of the art on display whenever possible. Please call ahead to request additional accommodation. 973-948-5202