Martin Johnson Heade (1819–1904)
“To make the Museum as accessible as possible, we need to ensure that the collection exists in those online locations where people already go for doses of creativity, knowledge, and ideas. That’s why these types of partnerships are so important to the Museum, and why, by enabling these partnerships, the Open Access policy change is such an exciting milestone for digital at The Met.”
While this open access support for accessible art is heightened more because of digitized art and the ease of the internet, it is only part of the history. In 1935, during the height of the Great Depression, part of the New Deal’s relief program served to support and acknowledge the struggling artists who had also been economically impacted.
The Federal Art Project gave work to artists of various media: painters, sculptors, muralists and graphic artists — many of whom created campaign posters that served as advertisements, public service announcements, and educational promotions.
The Federal Art Project was not the only program supporting artists; it was one of several government-sponsored programs. Imagine having that today, in this moment, with this administration.
Programs included: Public Works of Art Project (PWAP) (1933-34), the Department of the Treasury’s Section of Painting and Scultpure (1934-42; renamed the Section of Fine Arts in 1938), and its Treasury Relief Art Project (TRAP) (1935-38).
These government-sponsored art programs not only provided some economic relief for the struggling artists, but showed the importance of appreciating and valuing each individual’s skills. What The Met decided to do with some of its art solidifies the importance of art and culture in shaping and rejuvenating a society. The benefit of acknowledging art and valuing creativity serves to uphold elements that define us as people and serves to establish better understanding of our differences and of each other.
“Art inspires us, and imagination and creativity lead to artistic expressions that expand knowledge and understanding.” The Getty
*Most work found through the Smithsonian is for non-commercial use only.