The Whatcom Museum in downtown Bellingham has opened a nationally-touring art exhibition from the Smithsonian Institution. Titled 1934: A New Deal for Artists, the show features 55 works originally commissioned by the U.S. government's Public Works of Art Project during the Great Depression. Each piece depicts an aspect of the "American Scene" of the time, with a goal of capturing quintessential American values and uplifting the nation.
From mid-December 1933 to June 1934, artists painted recognizable subjects -- portraits, cityscapes, images of city life, landscapes and depictions of rural life -- that reminded the public of quintessential American values such as hard work, community and optimism. The artworks, which were displayed in schools, libraries, post offices, museums and government buildings, provided artists with a sense of pride in serving their country.
The exhibition runs through Jan. 9, 2011.
Several special events at the Whatcom Museum will accompany the exhibit, including a New Deal Dance -- complete with 1930s-era music -- scheduled for Jan. 8, 2011.