OKCMOA’s exhibition Renewing the American Spirit: The Art of the Great Depression focuses on works of art made during a difficult time in American history. Extreme poverty, drought, and joblessness seemed endless. Stock markets crashed, businesses failed, and people looked for hope in new ways.
During this time artists created art that showed resilience—by looking to the past, documenting the present, or imagining the possibilities of the future. By the mid-1940s, America had emerged with its democracy intact, unemployment rates well below five percent, and over 200,000 works of art that were created thanks to the Federal Art Project. Americans had pulled through the Great Depression and World War II, and they were looking toward a brighter future.
Right now, many of us are in our homes, practicing social distancing, watching the news, and are unsure of if and when life will return to normal. We can see certain parallels with the Depression years. Using words, art, poetry, music, or any other form of expression, tell us where you are finding hope in our world right now. Share it using #OKCMOAathome.
Credit: John Steuart Curry (American, 1897–1946). Sunset, 1934. Oil on Masonite. Oklahoma City Museum of Art. Museum purchase with funds provided by the James C. and Virginia W. Meade Collections Endowment, Mr. and Mrs. Sam P. Shelburne, and Beaux Arts Trust, 2008.100. Photo: Joseph Mills