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"New Deal" Artworks and Informational Programs at WIU Art Gallery

September 21, 2005

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MACOMB, IL - - An exhibition of New Deal era artworks from the Western Illinois University Art GalleryÂ’s permanent collection will be on display from Tuesday, Sept. 27 through Thursday, Nov. 17.

A public reception for this exhibit, and a second faculty art exhibition, will be held from 6-8 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 27 at the Art Gallery.

The featured New Deal era prints were acquired in the 1930s as the result of President Franklin D. Roosevelt's "New Deal" governmental program to provide productive work to the nation's unemployed for the betterment of the public good. This was the first major era of government patronage for art in the United States.

The exhibit – which includes works by more than 25 artists, including Gertrude Abercrombie, Howard Langdon Brown, Charles M. Turzak and Ellsworth Young -- is being held in conjunction with, and in support of, Western Illinois University’s American Democracy Project.

For more information on New Deal era artworks in WesternÂ’s permanent collection, visit

Special informational programs will be held in conjunction with the New Deal exhibit.

“The WPA (Works Progress Administration) and Civilian Conservation Corps in the Quad Cities,” a gallery talk by Jeff Hancks, assistant professor of regional studies at WIU’s Malpass Library, will be given in the Art Gallery Tuesday, Nov. 1. Hancks will speak about the extensive and varied activities taking place in the Quad Cities, such as the construction of Rock Island’s Black Hawk State Park. The Art Gallery will be open from 6-8 p.m. with the lecture beginning at 7 p.m.

A gallery walk by WIU alumnus (1964) and professor emeritus at Southern Illinois University at Carbondale George Mavigliano will be held Tuesday, Nov. 8 in the Art Gallery. “The Federal Art Project and the American Scene” will include Mavigliano’s insights regarding subject matter demands and the creativity of the artist during this period of American Art under governmental patronage. The Art Gallery will be open from 6-8 p.m. with the gallery walk beginning at 7 p.m.

By special arrangement with the McDonough County Historical Society, the WIU Art Gallery will present a slide lecture by David M. Atkinson at 7 p.m. Monday, Nov. 14 in the Gallery. “Relief and Recovery without Strings: The New Deal in McDonough County, Illinois, 1933-1940” will discuss the various New Deal programs and projects that assisted and benefited the citizens and towns of McDonough County, such as the construction of shelter houses at Glenwood Park and Spring Lake State Park, the Girl Scout Camp at Spring Lake and tree plantings at Argyle Lake State Park.

Another slide lecture by Atkinson will be held Tuesday, Nov. 15 in the Gallery. An overview of the various programs and projects that benefited the students and the University during the Great Depression will be presented in “The New Deal at Western Illinois State Teachers College.” Some of these projects include the construction of the Laboratory School (presently Simpkins Hall), art, theatre and student assistance. The Art Gallery will be open from 6-8 p.m. with the slide lecture beginning at 7 p.m.

The WIU Art Gallery, located north of Sherman Hall, is open free to the public from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. weekdays and from 6-8 p.m. Tuesdays during exhibitions. For more information, call the Art Gallery at 309/298-1587 or visit

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