The Library of Virginia

Legacies of the New Deal in Virginia
April 14, 2003 -
December 6, 2003


Recording Our History: Writers and Artists

  • Federal Writers' Project

  • Virginia Writers' Project-Virginia Guide

  • Life Histories

  • Ex-Slave Narratives

  • Virginia Historical Inventory

Art for the People

  • Capturing Virginians on Film

For Teachers



Art for the People

Support for writers and arts professionals was available early in Roosevelt's administration. Part of the Civil Works Administration (CWA), the Public Works of Art Project (PWAP) employed artists to decorate public buildings. Support for artists also came from the Federal Emergency Relief Administration (1933-1935). In 1934 the Treasury Section of Painting and Sculpture took over the responsibilities of the PWAP to provide federal buildings with artwork. In Virginia, twenty-seven post office buildings, many constructed by the Public Works Administration, were decorated through the Treasury Department's program with murals of Virginia history and people painted by artists from different parts of the country. Federal Project Number One was a WPA project consisting of five divisions-the Federal Art Project, the Federal Music Project, the Federal Theatre Project, the Federal Writers' Project, and the Historical Records Survey. Directed nationally by Holger Cahill and statewide by Adèle Clark, the Federal Art Project flatly sought to develop a greater appreciation for American art through education and the integration of fine arts with practical arts.

Capturing Virginians on Film

Rich Mountain, Tazewell Virginia

Rich Mountain - Tazewell, VA . Kathryn Marie McNulty, 1939, oil on canvas. Collection of the Commonwealth of Virginia