Public Works of Art Project (Minnesota).

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During the Great Depression the United States government sponsored several projects promoting the production of works of art. Among them was the Public Works of Art Project (PWAP), begun in December, 1933, and funded by the U.S. Civil Works Administration. The PWAP was not a relief program, but rather a means to provide jobs for unemployed artists. Headquartered in Washington, D.C., the PWAP's main objective was to document the contemporary "American scene" in paintings, murals, and sculpture that would be appropriate for display in any federal or other publicly owned building. All artworks produced became the property of the federal government.

Under the PWAP the country was divided into 16 regions. Region 10, composed of Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Illinois, was administered by the Committee of Federal Relief on Fine Arts, headquartered in Chicago and chaired by Walter S. Brewster (December 1933 - February 1934) and Increase Robinson (February-April 1934).

Minnesota's PWAP was administered by an advisory subcommittee headquartered at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts and chaired by the Institute's director, Russell A. Plimpton. a clerk, Homer R. Kinney, and two committees: He was assisted by 1) the Technical Committee, which served as a jury on submitted artworks, and 2) the Committee on Definite Art Projects, which investigated the need for artwork in individual public buildings and helped allocate artists for each job.

During its existence the Minnesota PWAP employed approximately 50 local artists. They produced artworks for display in such public buildings as schools, universities, libraries, state offices, municipal park buildings, and hospitals.

The PWAP was formally terminated on April 28, 1934. It culminated its work with a national exhibition at the Corcoran Gallery in Washington, D.C. (April 25-May 30). Selected works from throughout the nation were displayed, including approximately 12 from Minnesota.

Unfinished Minnesota PWAP projects already in progress were completed during the following year with funding from Minnesota's State Emergency Relief Administration (SERA).

Historical data was taken from the collection.

From the guide to the Records., undated and 1933-1935., (Minnesota Historical Society)

Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
creatorOf Records., undated and 1933-1935. Minnesota Historical Society
Role Title Holding Repository
Relation Name
associatedWith Brewster, Walter Stanton. person
associatedWith Bruce, Edward, 1879-1943 person
associatedWith Collier, Polly Rose. person
associatedWith Daniels, John Karl, 1875- person
associatedWith Dooley, Russell J. person
associatedWith Kinney, Homer R. person
associatedWith Mayo, William James, 1861-1939 person
associatedWith Plimpton, Russell Arthur, 1891-1975 person
associatedWith Robinson, Increase. person
associatedWith State Emergency Relief Administration (Minnesota). corporateBody
associatedWith United States. Federal Civil Works Administration. corporateBody
associatedWith Watson, Forbes, 1880-1960 person
associatedWith Wedin, Elof. person
Place Name Admin Code Country
Art, American

Corporate Body

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Ark ID: w66g1b6q

SNAC ID: 11700339