Student Co-Authors/Presenters

Dawn Attebury, Jennie Cottrell, Shanice Ross, and Shateanna Stewart

Document Type

Edited Book

Publication Date

Spring 2016

Publication Title

The Clara M. Eagle Gallery Exhibition Catalogue

Department

Art and Design

College/School

College of Humanities and Fine Arts

Abstract

As the first major, nationalized support system for artistic production in the United States, the New Deal’s Federal Art Project (F.A.P.) strove to create a holistic vision of art for the American people. Debates among art historians and political pundits alike pointed to the perceived-lack of a truly-American modern art. Cultural critic Lewis Mumford articulated that, opposed to European Modernism, “[w]hat American taste recognizes [is] that there is more aesthetic promise in a McAn shoe store front, or in a Blue Kitchen sandwich palace than there is in the most sumptuous showroom of antiques…” In accordance, the F.A.P. supported artists’ individual creative freedom while encouraging the development of an aesthetic that was uniquely “American.” This new nationally-sponsored American art was championed as being accessible and admirable to everyone, from the farm hand to the First Lady.

One decade prior, a similar program was started in Italy. Since coming to power in 1922, Benito Mussolini saw a need for state patronage of an uniquely-Italian art, uncorrupted by international influence. Nationally supported art in Italy, like later-on in New Deal America, was meant reflect the contemporary native context. Artists were charged with creating a modern art, of their time, that reflected an uniquely Italian aesthetic. In the end, American New Deal and Italian Fascist arts both aspired to make a nationalist art but with unexpectedly multifaceted results.

Comments

Art for the People: WPA and New Deal Programs in Kentucky and Beyond has been made possible by a generous “Art Works” grant from the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) in conjunction with the Department of Art and Design and the College of Humanities and Fine arts at Murray State University.

The NEA “Art Works” Grant is to support an arts education program sponsored by the university gallery. Designed to foster awareness of the visual arts both within the university and in the community, programming will include artists lectures, a symposium, and film screenings. The program also will comprise guided gallery tours and art-making activities for K-12 students using the university’s permanent collection and its rotating contemporary exhibition series.

The ACE (Art. Context. Education.) Program is the first comprehensive education and public program series implemented by the Murray State University Art Galleries (UAG). Launched in 2015, the program brings both historical permanent collection pieces and the work of regional and emerging artists to life through a series of events with varying levels of visitor engagement; each event relates directly to an exhibit on view in one of UAG’s four principal galleries. The 2015 ACE Program will begin with a lecture presented by multimedia artist and Rollins College Professor of Art Dawn Roe, setting the bar for quality high. The FY2015-16 exhibition schedule will continue the quality programming of the last decade at UAG, presenting select works from the permanent collection as well as work by superlative regional and emerging contemporary artists, among whom Adrian Hatfield, Creighton Michael, Theresa Pfarr, and Pinkney Herbert represent a sampling of artists currently in discussion to present exhibitions and participate in education programs. The ACE Program is designed to engage both university and residential communities through events that range in levels of engagement and perceived barriers to entry.

 
 

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