Works Progress Administration

The WPA, or Works Progress Administration Arts portion, was originally an idea that George Biddle presented to his close friend and classmate, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt. Biddle was a talented painter who felt the pain of the unfortunate and poor arts community during the Depression. It was approved and established on 1935 to help finance the nation through The Great Depression, which left millions of Americans unemployed. The WPA, which was part of Franklin D. Roosevelts New Deal, was a plan to establish Americans with jobs. For 11 years, from 1933 to 1943, when the program ended, the federal government employed over 8.5 million people including artists, musicians, actors, writers, photographers, and dancers even though the program was mainly created to employ manual laborers for an average salary of $41.57 a month. The artists who participated in the WPA ranged from figurative and academic, all the way to abstraction and surrealism, in addition to almost every oth!
er school of painting, sculpture and the graphic arts including prints and posters.

The New Deal arts project, or Public Works of Art Project (PWAP),
provided work for jobless artists, but they also had a larger mission: to promote American art and

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