A Finding Aid to the Federal Art Project, Photographic Division Collection, circa 1920-1965, bulk 1935-1942, in the Archives of American Art
Digitized Content

Summary
Collection ID:
AAA.fedeartp14
Creators:
Federal Art Project. Photographic Division
Dates:
circa 1920-1965
bulk 1935-1942
Languages:
English
Physical Description:
12.4 Linear feet
Repository:
The Federal Art Project, Photographic Division collection dates from circa 1920-1965, with the bulk of the records spanning the active years of the Federal Art Project (FAP), 1935-1942. The collection comprises 12.4 linear feet of mostly photographic prints and negatives that document primarily artwork produced by artists employed by the FAP. A smaller number of photographs also document other programs of the FAP, such as art classes and community centers, exhibitions by children and adults, artwork installed in public buildings, project divisions, and demonstrations of art processes by FAP artists.

Scope and Content Note
Scope and Content Note
The Federal Art Project (FAP), Photographic Division collection dates from circa 1920-1965, with the bulk of the records spanning the active years of the FAP: 1935-1942. The collection comprises 12.4 linear feet of photographic prints and negatives, including photos of FAP artists and the artwork created by them, and other activities of the FAP in communities throughout New York City and other states. Photographers include Andrew Herman, Sol Horn, David Robbins, Leo Seltzer, and others.
Artist files comprise three-quarters of the collection and consist primarily of photographs of artwork, as well as scattered photos of artists at work, including: Charles Alston, Luis Arenal, Richmond Barthe, John Benson, Andrew Berger, Lucille Blanch, Lucienne Bloch, Ilya Bolotowsky, Luise Brann, Selma Burke, Letterio Calapai, Eugene Chodorow, Francis Criss, Stuart Davis, Adolf Dehn, Virginia Dehn, Jose de Rivera, George Pearse Ennis, Philip Evergood, Eugenie Gershoy, Bertram Goodman, Arshile Gorky, Marion Greenwood, Philip Guston, Donal Hord, Joseph Hovell, William Karp, Yasuo Kuniyoshi, Edward Laning, Julian Levi, Audrey McMahon, Elizabeth Olds, Anton Refregier, Will Shuster, William Zorach, and others.
The remainder of the collection consists of files documenting related activities and programs of the FAP, arranged by subject. The bulk of these files document the activities of the New York City FAP, including free art classes and art exhibitions for adults and children, exhibitions at the Harlem Art Center, and the work of FAP branches including the Easel Division, the Graphic Arts Division, and the Poster Division.
Other subjects documented include federal and community art centers in eleven states, most extensively Washington State; other WPA projects such as the Federal Theater Project, the Federal Music Project, and the Federal Writers' Project; buildings decorated with FAP artwork; art processes as demonstrated by FAP artists; special events; and people involved with the FAP, including director Holger Cahill.
One folder contains images that appear to have been taken by Berenice Abbott for the exhibition Changing New York (1935), for the Museum of the City of New York in collaboration with the WPA.

Arrangement
Arrangement
The collection is arranged as 2 series:
  • Series 1: Artist Files, circa 1920-1965 (Boxes 1-24; 9.6 linear feet)
  • Series 2: Subject Files, 1934-1956 (Boxes 25-32; 2.8 linear feet)

Historical Note
Historical Note
The Federal Art Project (FAP) was one of the Depression-era work-relief programs of the Federal Works Progress Administration (WPA). The program was founded in August 1935 to provide employment for artists and to implement visual arts programs in local communities across the country.
Together with the Federal Music Project, the Federal Theater Project, and the Federal Writers' Project, the FAP formed part of the WPA's Federal Project No. 1. The WPA became the Work Projects Administration in 1939 when it fell under the administrative hand of the newly created Federal Works Agency; concurrently the Federal Art Project was officially re-named the Federal Art Program.
Under the direction of Holger Cahill, the goals of the FAP fell into three main areas: production of artwork, art education through art classes and community centers, and art research through the Index of American Design. During the course of the program, artists created murals and other works of art for many non-Federal government buildings such as schools, hospitals, and libraries. Separate photographic divisions were set up in several states, most notably in New York City, to document the work of artists employed by the program, activities in art education such as classes for children and adults, community center outreach programs, and other "Federal 1" projects, including the Federal Theater and Music Projects. Employees of the photographic division were also involved in other assignments, such as creating exhibitions and photo murals.
The Federal Art Project ended in 1943.

Administration
Alternative Forms Available
This collection was digitized in its entirety in 2017 and is available via the Archives of American Art's website.
Processing Information
The bulk of the collection was microfilmed after donation, with the exception of some of the photographs of artists, which were separated from the collection in 1973, and placed in AAA's Photographs of Artists Collection One. These photographs were microfilmed as part of that collection, and subsequently digitized in 2003 before being returned to the Federal Art Project, Photographic Division collection, in circa 2006. Some re-processing and additional description of the collection was completed by Stephanie Ashley in 2007-2008, with support from the Terra Foundation for American Art. The collection was prepared for scanning by Stephanie Ashley, and digitized in its entirety, in 2017, with funding provided by The Walton Family Foundation.
Author
Stephanie Ashley
Sponsor
Funding for the processing and digitization of this collection was provided by the Terra Foundation for American Art and The Walton Family Foundation
Provenance
The collection was anonymously donated to the Archives of American Art in the late 1950s.

Using the Collection
Preferred Citation
Federal Art Project, Photographic Division collection, circa 1920-1965, bulk 1935-1942. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
Restrictions on Access
Use of original papers requires an appointment and is limited to the Archives' Washington, D.C. Research Center. Contact Reference Services for more information.
Ownership and Literary Rights
The Federal Art Project, Photographic Division collection is owned by the Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution. Literary rights as possessed by the donor have been dedicated to public use for research, study, and scholarship. The collection is subject to all copyright laws.

Related Material
Among the holdings of the Archives of American Art are related collections, including the Federal Art Project of the Work Projects Administration records, 1935-1948. Additional FAP records are held by the National Archives and Records Administration in Washington D.C.

Keywords
Keywords table of terms and types.
Keyword Terms Keyword Types
African American artists -- New York (State) -- New York -- Photographs Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Children's art -- United States -- Photographs Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Photography Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Art -- United States -- Exhibitions -- Photographs Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Art -- United States -- Study and teaching -- Photographs Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Art centers Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Federal aid to the public welfare -- Photographs Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Theater and state -- United States -- Photographs Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Music and state -- United States -- Photographs Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Federal aid to the arts -- Photographs Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Art and state -- United States -- Photographs Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Art -- Technique Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Artists -- United States -- Photographs Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Photographs Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Art -- Exhibitions Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Hispanic American artists Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Art -- Study and teaching Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Berger, Andrew Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Blanch, Lucile, 1895-1981 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Kuniyoshi, Yasuo, 1889-1953 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Guston, Philip, 1913-1980 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Olds, Elizabeth, 1896-1991 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Harlem Art Center Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Goodman, Bertram, 1904-1988 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Criss, Francis, 1901-1973 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Benson, John Howard, 1901-1956 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Dehn, Virginia E. (Virginia Engleman), 1922-2005 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Greenwood, Marion, 1909-1970 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Chodorow, Eugene, 1910-2000 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Refregier, Anton, 1905- Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Ennis, George Pearse, d. 1936 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Federal Writers' Project U.S. -- Photographs Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
United States. Work Projects Administration Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
McMahon, Audrey, 1900?-1981 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Arenal, Luis Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Herman, Andrew Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Horn, Sol Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Barthé, Richmond, 1901-1989 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Robbins, David Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Seltzer, Leo, 1916- Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Brann, Louise, 1906- Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Levi, Julian E. (Julian Edwin), 1900-1982 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Laning, Edward, 1906- Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Gorky, Arshile, 1904-1948 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Zorach, William, 1887-1966 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Calapai, Letterio, 1902-1993 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Karp, William, 1905- Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Hovell, Joseph, 1897- Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Davis, Stuart, 1892-1964 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
United States. Works Progress Administration Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Burke, Selma, 1900- Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Dehn, Adolf, 1895-1968 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Shuster, Will Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Evergood, Philip, 1901-1973 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Bloch, Lucienne, 1909-1999 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Gershoy, Eugenie, 1901?-1983 or 6 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Federal Art Project. Graphic Arts Division Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Federal Art Project (N.Y.) Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
De Rivera, José Ruiz, 1904-1985 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Hord, Donal, 1902-1966 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Federal Art Project. Easel Division Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Federal Art Project. Poster Division Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Bolotowsky, Ilya, 1907-1981 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Federal Art Project (Wash.) Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Alston, Charles Henry, 1907-1977 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Cahill, Holger, 1887-1960 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Federal Theatre Project (U.S.) -- Photographs Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Federal Music Project (U.S.) -- Photographs Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Abbott, Berenice, 1898-1991 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Federal Art Project -- Photographs Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid

Repository Contact
Archives of American Art
750 9th Street, NW
Victor Building, Suite 2200
Washington, D.C. 20001
https://www.aaa.si.edu/services/questions
https://www.aaa.si.edu/