Thursday, April 14, 2011

Pretty Things Thursday: WPA Philadelphia Zoo Poster

Can you imagine a world where the government was concerned about the wellbeing of artists?  Believe it or not, they used to!  Enter the Works Progress Administration, better known as the WPA, an agency created under FDR's New Deal in 1936 that employed artists to create public service posters.

The Library of Congress has a collection of about 900 of the posters that were created from 1936-1943.
From the Library of Congress website:

"These striking silkscreen, lithograph, and woodcut posters were designed to publicize health and safety programs; cultural programs including art exhibitions, theatrical, and musical performances; travel and tourism; educational programs; and community activities in seventeen states and the District of Columbia."

Simply put, they are awesome.  And lucky for us, Pennsylvania was one of those states.

In 2008, a book came out that showcases the WPA posters called Posters for the People.  I thought it would be a perfect gift for Nick, but since I was in grad school at the time and $50 was pretty steep, I ended up getting this guy instead.

It's one of my favorites from the collection and now it gets to hang on our office wall!  Aside from supporting the simple things in life—visiting the zoo, going to the national parks, riding your bike, etc.—they are nice to look at.  It's very clear that they were created by artists, not advertisers.  And that's why they are awesome.

What's your favorite WPA poster?


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