"During the depths of the Great Depression of the 1930s and into the early years of World War II, the Federal government supported the arts in unprecedented ways. For 11 years, between 1933 and 1943, federal tax dollars employed artists, musicians, actors, writers, photographers, and dancers. Never before or since has our government so extensively sponsored the arts. MORE...
Celebrating the country's past and its character promoted a sense of national identity during a difficult time and yielded art that people could understand and appreciate.
Celebrating "the People"
Visual artists, writers, filmmakers, and playwrights concentrated many of their creative efforts on the patterns of everyday life, especially the world of work. A recurring theme was the strength and dignity of common men and women, even as they faced difficult circumstances.
Work Pays America
Most New Deal artists were grateful to President Roosevelt for giving them work and enthusiastically supported the New Deal's liberal agenda. Not surprisingly, their art celebrated the progress made under Franklin Roosevelt and promoted the President and his programs.
Many politically active artists worked for the New Deal projects. United by a desire to use art to promote social change, these artists sympathized with the labor movement and exhibited an affinity for left-wing politics ranging from New Deal liberalism to socialism to communism.
Most New Deal artist-administrators believed deeply that the projects had a responsibility to reach out to as many Americans as possible and to put art to practical use. Such socially useful arts were not intended to create masterpieces, but they did produce many excellent works, allowed thousands of artists to pursue their vocation, and enriched and informed the lives of Americans." (National Archives and Records Administration).