“Posters For The People” Exhibit To Showcase Depression-Era Art

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Artist: Vera Bock, New York, NY ca. 1936-41

RAHWAY — Social Impact Studios is teaming up with the Rahway Arts District to present “Posters For The People: Art of the WPA” this spring. This traveling exhibit, unveiled at the National Constitution Center in 2009, explores the social landscape of America during the Great Depression through posters created by the Works Progress Administration (WPA). Featuring hundreds of posters, including originals and reproductions, Posters for the People communicates the values, vision, and vitality of American democracy through art.

As part of Franklin Roosevelt’s “New Deal,” the government-sponsored WPA employed thousands of out-of-work Americans, including hundreds of artists. From 1936 to 1941, the WPA Poster Division was responsible for designing, printing, and distributing posters to raise awareness about public issues and civic programs. Featuring hundreds of posters, including originals and reproductions, the Posters for the People exhibit communicates the values, vision, and vitality of American democracy through art.

Artist Unknown, New York, ca. 1936-41

”Even today, the posters of the WPA still achieve their original goals,” said Ennis Carter, founding director of Social Impact Studios and author of Posters for the People. “They call attention to important social issues and values through beautiful and meaningful design. These posters may be 75 years old, but they still touch our lives and inspire us even today. We are proud to preserve their story and present them again to the American public.”

The public is invited to an opening celebration of the Rahway exhibit on May 3, at LightSoundSpace, 1591 Irving Street. See the poster ­- originals and reproductions — and hear the stories of how this collection of rare American art is being rediscovered and brought back to the public through a new comprehensive online collection.

Artist: JD (full name unknown), New York, ca. 1936-37

Never-before-displayed poster designs from Newark Poster Division artist Vincent Murphy will be on display and his surviving family will be in attendance at the exhibit opening. Also attending are families of WPA poster artists Jerry Roth, and Isadore Possoff.

“Posters for the People,” the book, available for sale and signing by author Ennis Carter.

“New Deal Film Festival” will be shown throughout the evening of the opening. Director and Curator Andrew Ferrett compiled this collection of films commissioned by the government during Franklin Roosevelt’s administration. With Ferrett’s help, learn how Hollywood helped promote the values and information of the New Deal during the Great Depression in America.

Depression-era music and refreshments will be on hand, including sweet treats from Philadelphia’s award-winning ice cream saloon, Franklin Fountain’s new vintage “Shane’s Candies.”

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