Arts and Entertainment

Visual Arts

What were the effects of the Great Depression on black artists?

The 1930s brought the Great Depression and the Works Progress Administration. Black artists, now abandoned by white philanthropists of the 1920s, were rescued by the WPA. Harlem Renaissance artists Aaron Douglas, Augusta Savage, Charles Alston, Hale Woodruff, and Charles White were in this group. With WPA support, they created murals and other works for public buildings. In 1939 the Baltimore Museum show, the first exhibition of African-American artists to be held in a southern region, presented the works of Richmond Barthé, Malvin Gray Johnson, Hale Woodruff, Dox Thrash, Archibald Motley, and others.


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