Works Progress Administration (WPA): Inspiring Theatrical Posters
The Work Progress Administration was the largest agency of the American New Deal initiative. The WPA employed millions of people to carry out public works projects during the Great Depression.
A smaller subset for the visual arts was the Federal Arts Project where the WPA employed all sectors of artists and craftsmen. From 1935 until 1943, the WPA Poster Project produced over 20,000 printed works created through government stipends and provided jobs for thousands of unemployed artists.
Original designs for all manner of cultural programs, US travel and tourism, public service issues and community activities were created. These silk-screened posters presented innovative and groundbreaking work using asymmetrical layouts, bold graphic elements and typography influenced by Russian Constructivism and the Bauhaus. The posters serve as excellent reference and resources for designers today.
Take a look at a small sampling of theatrical posters, while a larger group of all the WPA posters can be viewed as a slideshow here.