Tuesday, January 31, 2017

The Wisconsin Arts Project Digital Collection

Recently published in 2016, The Wisconsin Arts Project Digital Collection focuses on Wisconsin arts organizations that were part of the Works Project Administration from 1935-1943. The digital collection provides access to primary sources related to both the artists and administrators of the WPA arts projects in Wisconsin, including the Milwaukee Handicraft Project (MHP). The collection includes over 500 items ranging from original artworks, historical photographs, text documents, and audio recordings. Published along side the collection is an interactive timeline of various WPA organizations as well as a guide to the print methods used by the MHP artists.

Children and Instructors in Classroom
Elsa Ulbricht at Loom
Spanning the years of the Great Depression, several arts organizations were created as part of Franklin D. Roosevelt's New Deal Agencies to employ artists in public sector positions. These organizations included The Treasury Relief Project, The Federal Art Project, The Section of Painting and Sculpture, and The Milwaukee Handicrafts Project. The artists were put to work creating public exhibitions and restoring government buildings and schools with artistic decorations.  In Wisconsin, the Milwaukee Handicrafts Project, led by Elsa Ulbricht, engaged unskilled woman in the creation of printed books, textiles, draperies, and toys. See gallery below for examples.

This project was made possible by the generous support of The Chipstone Foundation and the UWM Libraries.

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