Visions of America

On Thursday, March 21, Asheville School's Fine Arts Department will host an opening of the latest John M. Crawford Art Gallery Exhibit, "Visions of America: A Portfolio of Photographs Celebrating WPA Era Art and Artists of the 1930s and 1940s."

The opening, which is free and open to the public, will take place in the Walker Arts Center from 5:30 to 7 p.m.

The 1930s and 1940s in the U.S. were years of turmoil, challenge, and exceptional artistic creativity. The Depression touched most every aspect of American life and asked government to find new ways of confronting the economic and political problems of the time.

Beginning with Franklin D. Roosevelt's election in 1933, the federal government implemented a series of programs to rebuild America, including the Works Progress Administration (WPA). In spite of political resistance because of Roosevelt's vision of the expanded role of the federal government, the New Deal programs provided jobs for people and hope for the future. Investing in dams, schools, hospitals, government buildings and post offices became part of a safety net for the nation.

Artists, skilled craftsmen, architects, laborers and engineers provided the talent to revitalize a struggling economy. This exhibit reminds viewers of a vision of America created by artists of the era.

Photographers Amy and Mike Clarke hope to spark reflection on a difficult time in U.S. history and encourage students to examine American values of then and now.

"Visions of America" will hang in the John M. Crawford Art Gallery from March 21 through April. The reception is free and open to the public, and the general John M. Crawford Gallery hours are Monday to Friday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

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