WPA Posters

Jan 16Mar 2, 2024

Works Progress Administration and the Federal Art Project

In 1935, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt established the Works Progress Administration. In July of 1935, Federal Project Number One was established within the WPA for arts-related projects. Federal One provided funds specifically for artists, musicians, actors, and writers through the Federal Art Project (FAP). FAP employed more than five thousand artists in various art projects including the many poster divisions that were created throughout the United States.

The Federal Art Project (FAP), which operated from August 1935 until June 1943, included FAP poster divisions in seventeen states and the District of Columbia. These divisions designed posters for the Federal Art, Music, Writers’, and Theatre Projects as well as for other New Deal programs such as the Civilian Conservation Corps.

These well-designed posters became vehicles of communication that helped to shape and direct Americans’ behavior. With the creation of the WPA Poster Project, the federal government brought together the artistic community and during World War II, the posters transformed from promoting community purposes and social welfare to wartime propaganda and service.

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