Tuesday, October 31, 2006

WPA Supports Public Art

LOS ANGELES, CA – In 1940 WPA workers built a retaining wall at the corner of Sunset and Happy Feet. Their names are long forgotten but their deed is memorialized with a small brass plaque on the face of the wall.

Local cyclist and artist Caché has chosen this retaining wall as the canvas for his “Ride Forever” mural memorializing “fallen riders” everywhere.

In accepting the “support” of the long gone WPA, Caché joins the ranks of artists such as Jackson Pollack, Willem de Kooning and Mark Rothko, just a few of the thousands of Federal One starving artists that sought artistic and economic refuge in the WPA.

The WPA was a New Deal relief program designed to put people to work until the economy recovered and it resulted in the construction of a significant number of public facilities such as dams, parks, airports, and a significant number of highway, street and roadway projects.

Within the WPA was Federal One, a program to support artists through the Writer’s Project, the Historical Survey, the Theatre Project, the Music Project and the Art Project.

While the debate roils on about the current Federal program for starving artists, step outside, go for a ride, take a different route and discover some of the art gifts that can be found in your neighborhood.

This scene from
The Magnificent Seven is part of the Hollywood Shadow Project. It’s installed on top of Rocky Mountain Camera and for 90 minutes each day it casts a shadow on the wall of the building across the street, returning for a short spell to the site of its production company.

Sometimes you’ve got to take your eyes off the road, go for a wander, get lost, “Stick your neck out!*”

*From Casablanca, high atop the 2nd Stage Theatre, Santa Monica and Wilcox

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