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Art in the Age of the New Deal

"As the Federal Emergency Relief Act, a prototype of the New Deal work-relief programs, began to put a few dollars into the pockets of hungry workers, the question arose whether to include artists among the beneficiaries. It wasn't an obvious thing to do; by definition artists had no "jobs" to lose. But Harry Hopkins, whom President Franklin D. Roosevelt put in charge of work relief, settled the matter, saying, 'Hell, they've got to eat just like other people!'"

 

"I, too, have a dream - to show people in the out of the way places, some of whom are not only in small villages but in corners of New York City - something they cannot get from between the covers of books - some real paintings and prints and etchings and some real music."

- Franklin Roosevelt to Hendrik Willem Van Loon, January 4, 1938 

Subject Guide

Zara Wilkinson
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