The Federal Art Project 1935-1943
Pozniak, Karen Ann
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The economic crisis of the thirties following the stock market crash in 1929, necessitated same form of government relief to stay the rising level of unemployment and poverty. During the first year of the Rooseve1t administration in 1933, this relief consisted of funds provided to the states by the federal government to be given out in cash or in food and grocery orders to the nation's thirteen to eighteen million unemployed. The direct dole, however, proved unsatisfactory. So, in the fall of 1933 the first, although short-lived work relief program (it ended the following spring when the program exceeded its budget), the Civil Works Administration (CWA), was established under Harry L. Hopkins. It was followed a year and a quarter later by the Works Progress Administration (WPA) established in the summer of 1935. The lessen learned from the success of the CWA that guided the programming of the WPA was that work relief to be really effective had to provide workers with jobs suited to their training and capabilities. In 0ther words, it was not enough to simply provide employment for a person, that person should be emp1oyed in his own field. This concept of work relief applied not only to those engaged in the production and distribution of goods and services, but to those engaged in the arts as well.