Thursday, March 7, 2024 – 6 p.m.
Inspired by DECADES: Looking Back/Moving Forward (1920 – 1939), join us for an art talk on the Works Progress Administration with Dr. Matthew L. Downs. The Works Progress Administration (WPA) was created as part of the flurry of legislation known as the New Deal and sought to address the crushing poverty of the Great Depression by employing people on a variety of public projects.
In addition to its well-known building and infrastructure projects, the WPA also oversaw a group of programs collectively known as Federal Project Number One. These programs employed artists, musicians, actors, and writers. This included artists like Jackson Pollock, Mark Rothko, Willem de Kooning, and Lee Krasner.
Matthew L. Downs is Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences and Professor of History at the University of Mobile. He received his Ph.D. from the University of Alabama, where he studied modern southern history with a particular focus on the South in the twentieth century. He is the author of Transforming the South, which describes the federal economic development of Alabama’s Tennessee Valley from 1915-1960, and the co-editor of the American South and the Great War, a collection of essays on World War I and its impact on the region. He lives with his wife and two children across the bay in Daphne.