The Lyman Allyn Art Museum in New London, CT is opening a new exhibit America @ Work: New Deal Murals in New London and Beyond on March 8, 2012. The exhibit will run through June 9, 2012.
The aim of America @ Work: New Deal Murals in New London and Beyond is to bring attention to often overlooked local treasures in the context of New Deal murals in other states. The government funded hundreds of murals in federal buildings across the country, typically providing artists with a list of topics pertinent to local history. The artists were then free to choose their own content. Thomas La Farge was quick to identify whaling as an apt theme for murals in New London, a city long known as the “Whaling City.” Other artists in the exhibition chose topics such as the cotton industry in North Carolina, corn harvesting in Georgia, onion farming in upstate New York, processing steel in Ohio, and pioneering and mining in Idaho.
Although the artists included in America @ Work: New Deal Murals in New London and Beyond are from distant corners of America, they share a focus on working Americans. More notably, they espouse an uplifting message of pride in American ingenuity and a belief that the country’s economic woes could be overcome through hard work – this in the face of the stark realities of life in America, a country suffering from significant hardship and unemployment during the Great Depression.
The exhibition has been organized by Guest Curator Barbara Zabel, Professor Emeritus of Art History at Connecticut College.
Special programming for the exhibition includes:
- Thursday, March 8, 2012 at 5:00 PM – The Exhibition opening with a reception and a gallery talk by guest curator Barbara Zabel, Professor Emeritus of Art History at Connecticut College.
- Thursday, March 29 at 5:00 PM: “From Ship to Shore: The Whaling Murals of Thomas LaFarge,” a reception and a gallery talk with Robert Richter, Director of Arts Programming at Connecticut College and Connecticut College student Elizabeth Petersen.
- Thursday, April 5 at 5:00 PM – “Painters. Politics & Propaganda: The W.P.A.’s ‘Paint America’ Project – An Ongoing Legacy,” a reception and a lecture by Philip Eliasoph, Professor of Art History at Fairfield University.
- Saturday, April 7 from 1:00 to 3:00 PM – Free afternoon admission, free art activities, free snacks each month, and a hands-on mural making project in the studio for children of all ages.
Picture credits: Story of Cotton (1937) is an oil on canvas mural study for the Roanoke Rapids, North Carolina Post Office done by Charles Ward. It measures 16 1/2 by 24 1/2 inches. The picture was provided by the Lyman Allyn Art Museum and is courtesy of D. Wigmore Fine Art, Inc. and the Estate of Charles Ward.