Harry Hopkins, Director of the WPA, believed that people were better off working for relief than taking the dole. From this belief was the basis of most of his work with the New Deal. He knew that "artists were starving the same as everyone else."1 As soon as he could he put artists, writers, and other professionals back to work. Below are some examples of putting artists back to work here in Jefferson County.
Storybook Mural by Carrie Hill, is located at the East Lake Branch Library. The 27' x 9' canvas mural includes Mother Goose characters such as Little Red Riding Hood, Little Miss Muffett, and the Rabbit from Alice in Wonderland. In 1937, East Lake Library acquired the mural by Alabama artist Carrie Hill, commissioned by the Works Progress Administration (WPA). Damaged by fire and water, the mural was restored in 1993 by Birmingham art conservator, John Bertalan.
Detail of Spirit of Steel, Fairfield, Alabama
Commissioned by the Department of the Treasury Section of Painting and Sculpture (1934 - 1938) United States General Services Administration Fine Arts Collection
Detail of the Woodlawn High School Mural
Work on the Woodlawn mural lasted from 1937 to 1939. At 200 feet long and 6 feet high, the painting is one of the largest done by the WPA.
-- from New Deal/WPA Art in Alabama
1 McDonald, William F. Federal Relief Administration and the Arts : the Origins and Administrative History of the Arts Project of the Works Progress Administration.