One of the good things that came out of a very hard time, the Great Depression, was art: the making of more than 80,000 paintings, photos, murals, posters, sculptures and crafts.
Many of them were created because the artists and craftspeople were supported through the federal Works Progress Administration.
Smaller than the WPA’s public works projects, the art project eventually employed all kinds of artists – more than 8 million people – paying them each $53 a month, or about $730 in today’s money.
In her recent slideshow at the Amherst Town Library, Nancy Baker, a retired Souhegan High School teacher who is executive chairwoman of the Guild of Volunteers at the Currier Museum of Art, showed iconic as well as little-known artworks from the 1930s.They boosted morale, stirred social consciousness and gave hope to a nation that badly needed it, she said.
“We didn’t become bitter or lose our sense of self, in general,” Baker said. “We came out of the 1930s better than ever.”
Baker’s presentation, called “Just Off Route 66,” was part of the ongoing “Big Read,” an National Endowment for the Arts project that this year centers around John Steinbeck’s “The Grapes of Wrath.” Read more.