As soon as Franklin Roosevelt took office as President of the United States, he received emergency powers to deal with the crisis. The reforms carried out by the Roosevelt administration in the 1930s became the largest milestone in the history of the United States in the 20th century (Pillen, 2020). They determined the prevailing trend in the evolution of the socio-economic and political structure of modern society. Various programs were carried out to create a system of social protection for all members of society: from working-class people to artists, writers, and other intellectuals.
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In December 1933, the New Deal administration launched the Public Works of Art Project (PWAP), the first of its federal-funded cultural programs. PWAP proved to be short-lived, only lasting in the spring of 1934, but in 1935 it was followed by the much more famous Works Progress Administration Federal Art Project (WPA / FAP) (Pillen, 2020). The fine arts-oriented FAP was the largest of five projects under the First Federal Project, which included programs for music, theater, writers, as well as a Historical Research Survey.
In general, in the spring of 1936, about 3.5 million people were employed at various WPA facilities (Pillen, 2020). The FAP program primarily helped those in need by providing jobs for 10,000 artists regardless of their status in the art world (Pillen, 2020). The sponsored artists worked in a variety of mediums, including painting, sculpture, and design.
The new organization has provided great assistance to people of intellectual professions – artists, writers, painters, and architects. An important result of Roosevelt’s activities was the strengthening of production and the creation of the basis for the socio-cultural infrastructure of American society. The issue of carrying out reforms in favor of the broad strata of the US population, including intellectuals, was highlighted.
Pillen, C. (2020). WPA posters in an aesthetic, social, and political context: A new deal for design. Routledge.