…and other federal artistic watchdogs, like the “florist-in-chief.”
What does this mean? Well, firstly, there was a fascinating article in Washington Post that describes how the GSA (General Services Administration — a federal watchdog agency) is on a hunt to recover “lost” artwork from the Depression, which was created as part of the WPA (New Deal Works Progress Administration), to help artists have employment and document historical art. At the time, the government paid artists up to $42 a week. This was a large amount back then and a life preserver during our nation’s worst financial crisis. Over 20,000 works of art were created in response. The value of these pieces range from $3 – $250,000. The responsibility for their welfare was transferred to the GSA when the WPA program ended after WWII. The Fine Arts Programs manages over 19,000 pieces that are displayed in federal buildings across the country. Federal law requires that government owned artwork must be displayed in government buildings.
A recovered WPA painting by the GSA, courtesy Washington Post
Here’s another known example of a WPA mural in Gloucester, MA’s City Hall.
Charles Allan Winter's "City Council in Session.'' Courtesy Boston.com
Another federal worker, who has her eye on art — the art of flower arranging — is The White House’s new florist, Laura Dowling. She uses an abundance of vegetables and fruits to create unexpected, large and small scale arrangements with her gorgeous flowers.
Laura Dowling. Photo by Bill O'Leary, Washington Post
Laura Dowling's apricot vases. Photo Marvin Joseph. Washington Post
If you’d like to see more impact with flowers in interior design, click on the Big Bang Design post that I wrote recently for Slipcovers for your walls, casartblog.