Monday, October 24, 2011

Prints from the WPA on Display

The exhibition, “Carrollton Collects: Prints from the WPA,” features original works of art from the University of West Georgia’s permanent art collection and the art collections of local residents. On display are works commissioned as part of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s Works Progress Administration and the Federal Art Project of the 1930s. The prints on display are woodcuts, etchings, lithographs, and wood engravings, many of which were donated by the government to West Georgia College in 1943. They are the sole survivors of a gift of over 300 original artworks from the Federal Art Project of the WPA. Other works in the exhibition have been lent by Carrollton residents Mrs. Dorothy Roush, Dr. and Mrs. Peter Worthy, and Mr. and Mrs. William and Sarah Johnson. The exhibition is on view in the Bobick Gallery in the Humanities Building on the University of West Georgia campus from October 27 through November 18, 2011. There will be an opening reception on Thursday, October 27 from 5 to 7 PM.

Roosevelt’s Federal Art Project, a part of the WPA, could be considered a Depression era stimulus package. Its goal was to provide work for artists. It was also meant to raise the spirits and confidence of citizens across the country, through theater, dance, art education, and the fine and graphic arts. This highly successful and historically significant project brought a myriad of art forms to humble locations and non-traditional settings. It cut across financial and racial boundaries, and revealed the melting pot that was the American artist while documenting a cross-section of America before the technology-saturated world of today. The exhibition is the result of two years of research and collaboration by four members of the Art Department faculty: Professor Debrah Santini, Professor Stephanie Smith, Professor Joey Hannaford, and Dr. Rebecca Reynolds. The exhibition also features a catalogue including entries on each artwork on display, a contextual essay on the Federal Art Project written by art historian Dr. Reynolds, and an essay on printmaking techniques and history by printmaking Professor Santini. The curating team relied on the assistance of undergraduate students who helped plan the exhibition design and write catalogue entries, and contributions of staff members from different departments on campus. The catalogue, designed by graphic design Professor Joey Hannaford, will be available for purchase at the exhibition.

During the opening reception on Thursday, October 27, 5-7 PM in the lobby of the Humanities Building, there will be a performance by Art Department students inspired by the bread lines that were commonplace during the Great Depression. Other events include a lecture by Dr. Steve Goodson from the History Department: “People Eat Every Day: The WPA and the Great Depression,” November 2, 6 PM, Kathy Cashen Hall, Humanities Building. On Saturday, November 5, Art Department students will lead a printmaking demonstration in the Printmaking program, Cobb Hall basement, 10 AM-12 PM. Students will demonstrate how prints are created, showing relief, etching, and lithographic techniques. On November 14, Dr. Keith Hebert from the Center for Public History will present a program entitled “Voices from the Past: The Great Depression in the West Georgia Region,” Room 203, Humanities Building, 11 AM. Throughout the run of the exhibition, visitors can also purchase small works on paper through the “Ven d’Arte” machine, a coin-operated vending machine stocked with prints donated by artists. Called “Brother, Can You Spare a Dime?,” the mini-exhibition is named after a popular song from the Great Depression that chronicles the life of “Al,” formerly successful but reduced by the Great Depression to asking if anyone can spare a dime. Instead of asking for a handout, the artists participating in the “Ven d’Arte” project are offering the fruits of their labor and donating proceeds to the hungry through the Carroll County Soup Kitchen. The “Ven d’Arte” project was developed by Professor Santini through a faculty research grant from the University of West Georgia.

All events are free and open to the public. For more information contact Stephanie Smith at or call 678-839-6415.

The exhibition can also be accessed online at

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