Cover image for African American Artists and the New Deal Art Programs: Opportunity, Access, and Community By Mary Ann Calo and Epilogue by Jacqueline Francis

African American Artists and the New Deal Art Programs

Opportunity, Access, and Community

Mary Ann Calo, and Epilogue by Jacqueline Francis

Buy

$74.95 | Hardcover Edition
ISBN: 978-0-271-09493-9

Available as an e-book

216 pages
6" × 9"
15 b&w illustrations
2023

African American Artists and the New Deal Art Programs

Opportunity, Access, and Community

Mary Ann Calo, and Epilogue by Jacqueline Francis

“A vital resource for scholars in a variety of intersecting fields concerned with American cultural and social history.”

 

  • Description
  • Reviews
  • Bio
  • Table of Contents
  • Sample Chapters
  • Subjects
This book examines the involvement of African American artists in the New Deal art programs of the 1930s. Emphasizing broader issues informed by the uniqueness of Black experience rather than individual artists’ works, Mary Ann Calo makes the case that the revolutionary vision of these federal art projects is best understood in the context of access to opportunity, mediated by the reality of racial segregation.

Focusing primarily on the Federal Art Project (FAP) of the Works Progress Administration (WPA), Calo documents African American artists’ participation in community art centers in Harlem, in St. Louis, and throughout the South. She examines the internal workings of the Harlem Artists’ Guild, the Guild’s activities during the 1930s, and its alliances with other groups, such as the Artists’ Union and the National Negro Congress. Calo also explores African American artists’ representation in the exhibitions sponsored by WPA administrators and the critical reception of their work. In doing so, she elucidates the evolving meanings of the terms race, culture, and community in the interwar era. The book concludes with an essay by Jacqueline Francis on Black artists in the early 1940s, after the end of the FAP program.

Presenting essential new archival information and important insights into the experiences of Black New Deal artists, this study expands the factual record and positions the cumulative evidence within the landscape of critical race studies. It will be welcomed by art historians and American studies scholars specializing in early twentieth-century race relations.

“A vital resource for scholars in a variety of intersecting fields concerned with American cultural and social history.”
African American Artists and the New Deal Art Programs contributes importantly to the literature on New Deal art and race, exploring the opportunities and limits the art projects created for Black visual artists. Drawing on under-researched records, especially the Black extension galleries in the South, Calo shows how the art projects provided new resources for Black artists while maintaining racial discrimination and segregation.”
“Probing a wide variety of archival sources, Mary Ann Calo has brought to our attention aspects of the ways African American artists and art administrators negotiated New Deal art programs, notably in the Southern states, and made a stand for the centrality of African American art.”

Mary Ann Calo is Batza Professor of Art and Art History Emerita at Colgate University. She is the author of three books, including Distinction and Denial: Race, Nation, and the Critical Construction of the African American Artist, 1920–40.

List of Illustrations

Preface

Acknowledgments

1. Historiography

2. Participation

3. Advocacy

4. Visibility

5. Aftermath

Epilogue

Jacqueline Francis

Appendix

Notes

Bibliography

Index

Download a PDF sample chapter here: Chapter1