Article as posted 29 Jun 2014 (updated below): Back in the early 1930’s for a span of about 10 years toward the end the Great Depression, the federal government tried to find ways to get people working. One of the actions taken in 1933, as part of the New Deal under Franklin D. Roosevelt, was to create the Works Progress Administration (WPA). There were many modifications made to the WPA in 1939 and the name changed to Work Projects Administration.
The WPA had many programs to include things like building bridges, parks and many other public works. They also put together programs that would foster the use of artists’ skills to create products that brought culture to the masses. Among these, they hired writers, painters, designers, and others to produce posters as communication media for many different programs and campaigns. The purpose was to create interest in our commerce, enhancing peoples lives, promoting health as well as providing safety information. Out of this was also born the “See America” series of posters.
The “See America” posters were original artworks, as were all the others, but were produced to encourage tourism to domestic destinations. This was at a time when a large part of the world was undergoing upheaval and the nation needed a different view of itself, maybe as a way for people to discover what was possibly “around the corner” and see the country in a new light.
Recently, the National Parks Conservation Association (NPCA) has partnered with the Creative Action Network, a web marketplace, to create the “See America” campaign for our times. The campaign was designed to showcase our national sites through the sale of posters, tote bags, mugs, and other items, taking the original WPA “See America” posters as inspiration.
I tend to be somewhat nostalgic (although in this case I was not actually around at the time of the original See America posters). So, the idea of creating posters that might capture the feel of the original See America posters appealed to me.
The poster above and the one below are my first two posters, with more to come. The first is a dramatic scene of the Grand Canyon. Trees survive in what would be considered inhospitable terrain, appearing to grow out of the solid rock. A storm passes in the distance and some of the peaks within the canyon catch the last of the sun’s light at sundown making them look like radiant embers.
The second is at sundown in the small picturesque and beautiful town of Sedona, part of Red Rock Country in the Coconino National Forest, northern Arizona. Some of the strange rock formations are accompanied by the moon over the area called Chicken Point, which is actually behind the butte on the right. Red Rock Country has many other formations with interesting and sometimes very apt names such as Coffeepot Rock, Bell Rock, and Snoopy Rock.
Only a small part of the original WPA posters (including all the different campaigns) have survived. These are available at the Library of Congress website.
I appreciate your taking the time to visit and check out the posters and photography. You can see all my posters at my Creative Action Network page or see my Premium large posters with a large assortment of printing media (canvas, metallic, or many different paper choices) and a great selection of frames at my Ed Gleichman page.
Thank you so much,
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Updated 18 Aug 2014: I published a new poster to the Creative Action Network, “Mission San Xavier del Bac”. Also, Premium size posters are available with a large assortment of printing media (canvas, metallic, or many different paper choices) and a great selection of frames at my Ed Gleichman page:
Updated 3 Jan 2015: I’ve just added the fourth poster to the Creative Action Network, “U. S. Air Force Memorial”. It’s also available as a Premium size poster with a large assortment of printing media (canvas, metallic, acrylic, or many different paper choices) and a variety of frames at my Ed Gleichman page: