Museums + Galleries

Art of the Deal

Masterpieces from the 1934 Public Works of Art Project are on display in St. Paul.

Photo courtesy of Smithsonian American Art Museum

Back in the 1930s, in the midst of the Great Depression, President Franklin Roosevelt did something that is almost impossible to conceive of today: He created jobs for artists. The Public Works of Art Project lasted only six months, but it produced an extraordinary range and number of artworks that were (and still are) displayed in government buildings, libraries, schools, post offices, and other public spaces throughout the country. All summer long, the Minnesota History Center is featuring 56 of these works through a traveling exhibition organized by the Smithsonian American Art Museum. The exhibition is arranged in eight themed sections (“City Life,” “Labor,” “Leisure,” etc.) and contains the work of several Minnesota artists, including Harry Gottlieb, Erle Loran, and Arnold Ness Klagstad.

June 2–Sept. 30
Minnesota History Center
345 Kellogg Blvd. W.
St. Paul, MN