Great Depression

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Discuss the government's role in promoting artistic expression during the Great Depression.

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Under the Works Progress Administration or WPA, money was set aside for artists.  Roosevelt recognized that there funding the arts was something vital for national character as well as the for the general population during something as cataclysmic as the Great Depression.  From one point of view, the move to support the arts through the WPA during that Great Depression can be seen as highly humanistic.  Roosevelt understood that the umbrella that government provided had to be extended to the artists, as well.  It is through this venue that many of the murals that are associated with the New Deal are constructed, as well as feeding the idea that the notion of what it means to be American exists in different realms.  It can exist through art and artists, who were natural advocates of the New Deal.  From a more pragmatic point of view, Roosevelt can be seen as understanding that the artist and the construction of art can be viewed as something for political gain.  Art speaks to the people and if Roosevelt can be seen as supporting arts through a crisis as the Great Depression, the art would speak to this point, enabling another political avenue that can reap benefits for Roosevelt.  I think that the government becomes a critical avenue through which art is facilitated in the Great Depression and, in the process, can take some level of benefit from it.

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