Graphic art was an art in its infancy when the America's New Deal dealt many illustrators and artists a weekly salary to raise morale and extol the virtues and values of a country. Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s New Deal created more than just jobs—the Works Progress Administration also allowed art and artists the chance to capture and inspire America in during its toughest times, the 1930s.

Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s New Deal created more than just jobs—the Works Progress Administration also allowed art and artists the chance to extol the virtues and ventures of America in during it's toughest times. The guiding philosophy of its founder, Harry Hopkins, was in line with New Deal philosophies:

“Give a man a dole and you save his body but destroy his spirit. Give him a job and you save both body and spirit”

   The Federal Art Project (FAP) was the visual arts agency of the New Deal’s Works Progress Administration. The FAP operated for eight years before being incorporated into the Defense Department as artists were recruited to fuel patriotic fires and rally the country around the necessities of rationing and other wartime realities.

    During those eight years, some 5,000 artists produced over 200,000 separate works—posters, murals and paintings that graced hospitals, schools, libraries, community centers and other public places. In the midst of the Great Depression, New Deal administrators believed that art could be a part of the daily lives of Americans—and not just the social elite—and enrich the lives of everyone who came in contact with it.

     Recreational interests were pursued—murals extolling National Parks, hiking and prompting Americans to get out and enjoy recreation were commissioned through a $23 per week salary that the artists drew, just like other workers under the New Deal.

     The posters are a fantastic representation of a burgeoning graphic design era—each one created by hand and individually painted and hand lettered. It is also representative of an era where government and artists worked hand in hand to further American ideals and values (positive propaganda)—it was so successful that many artists were re-employed by the Defense Department for World War II public message efforts.