Arthur Runquist, Lunch, 1939, oil on canvas, Fine Arts Program, Public Buildings Service, U.S. General Services Administration.

High Desert Museum partnership highlights WPA Collection

Bend, Oregon’s High Desert Museum recently opened Art for a Nation: Inspiration from the Great Depression, an exhibition featuring many pieces from the Portland Art Museum’s Works Progress Administration collection (WPA). The new exhibition explores the history, people and impact of the WPA, which was a U.S. government program that employed millions of unemployed people such as artists, musicians, and writers, during the Great Depression. The exhibition includes a selection of paintings and prints from our collection juxtaposed with three contemporary artists’ original work. The exhibition runs through October 2nd.

The partnership with the High Desert Museum is a wonderful way to share pieces from the collection with residents of, and visitors to Central Oregon.

Our WPA collection includes nearly 400 works of art created under the patronage of the U.S. Government during the Depression era of the 1930’s. The various paintings, prints, photographs and sculptures are distinct reminders of a rare experiment in government sponsorship of the arts that initiated discussion about the role of art and artists in American society and over federal support for the arts.

View works from the WPA collection online.