- Create your own Living Newspaper – Choose an issue “ripped from the headlines,” and create a one-act play inspired by the Federal Theatre Project’s Living Newspaper series to bring it to life. Living Newspaper productions were fact-filled, employing a collage style, rather than a linear narrative. The University of Texas has published a guide to creating your own living newspaper at: http://www.humanitiesinstitute.utexas.edu/programs/living/
- Identify the New Deal legacy in your community – Every region of the U.S. has parks, amphitheaters, murals and other public works created during the WPA. To get an idea of how you might collect and use this information, you can browse the website of California’s Living New Deal Project at http://livingnewdeal.berkeley.edu/ If you are in California, you can help them locate new sites and share them with everyone through their website.
- Write a new American Guide Series chapter that describes your community – Wikipedia has a list of the state, regional and local guides produced by the Federal Writers Project at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/American_Guide_Series. Some are still in print, some can be found in used book stores or libraries. Look into the stories these writers had to tell about your region 75 years ago, then write your own.
- Learn more about women artists at work in the WPA – WomenArts has profiled several women artists who worked for the WPA. You can read about Federal Art Project muralist Lucienne Bloch, Federal Theatre Project Director Hallie Flanagan, Mary Kellogg Rice, art director of the WPA Milwaukee Handicraft Project; and Federal Writers Project writer Dorothy West. There’s no comprehensive list of women in the WPA; can you discover other WPA veterans from your region and share the information with the world?
- Consider the WPA’s influence – What conscious or unconscious echoes of the WPA style can you find in your own work or the work of other contemporary artists? Are you or artists in your community creating posters or other images that incorporate a “WPA aesthetic?” Can you find examples of artists who are engaged in collaborations with other community members to create murals, theater, documentary photography and other projects reminiscent of the WPA? Why do you think the style remains popular?
Here are a few more links to help your research.
- A New Deal for the Arts from the National Archive: http://www.archives.gov/exhibits/new_deal_for_the_arts/index.html
- New Deal Cultures: National and Local Resources: http://chnm.gmu.edu/newdeal/ndc/new.html
- National New Deal Preservation Association (focusing on the overall New Deal anniversary in 2008, rather than the WPA)http://newdeallegacy.org/
- New Deal Dictionary: http://www.newdeal20.org/?cat=14
- New Deal Legacy Lessons: http://www.newdeal20.org/?cat=10
- “New Deal Cultural Programs – Experiments in Cultural Democracy” by Don Adams and Arlene Goldbard: http://www.wwcd.org/policy/US/newdeal.html
- “The New, New Deal – Parts 1 & 2” – Essays by Arlene Goldbard on current arts policy: http://www.ArleneGoldbard.com/essays
This page was researched and written for WomenArts by Arlene Goldbard (www.arlenegoldbard.com)
Feel free to share the information on this page, but please be sure to credit Arlene Goldbard and WomenArts. ©WomenArts 2009.